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As army on standby...

Petrol crisis prompts surge in demand for electric cars

As queues grow at petrol stations, more motorists are turning electric

Demand for electric cars has rocketed as motorists become fearful that the petrol crisis will not be resolved quickly.

New figures reveal a spike in searches for electric vehicles over the past week as the fuel supply crisis intensifies and panic-buying has seen many of the UK’s petrol stations run dry.

Car leasing comparison website LeaseLoco, has analysed almost 1.5 million deal searches made by consumers on its platform during September.

The data reveals that demand for EVs over the past week has rocketed, with searches for electric car deals making up a third (33%) of all searches over the past seven days.

That is 13% more searches for EVs than petrol car deals, the next highest search volume. It is also a 5% increase in EV searches compared to the previous week, when EVs made up 28% of all deal searches.

In September to date, 28% of all searches have been for electric car deals, with 23% for petrol deals. In August, EV searches made up a quarter (25%) of all searches, just behind petrol (26%).

John Wilmot, CEO of LeaseLoco, said: “The Government is assuring us that the fuel supply crisis will ease in a few days, but the general public is clearly sceptical judging by the lines of cars queuing at petrol stations across the country.

“The shortage of HGV drivers is unlikely to be resolved quickly, and car owners are understandably concerned that they could be left stranded if the pumps run dry.

“The impact on electric car demand has been immediate and searches for EV deals on our platform have gone through the roof. 


“Green motoring is the future and the Government needs to do more to encourage car owners to early switch to electric.

“A fuel-supply crisis is not the ideal solution to encourage people to switch to greener motoring, but it may well make peoples’ minds up, particularly if this crisis drags on.”

Motoring group the RAC said the price of a litre of unleaded petrol has risen by a penny since Friday to an eight-year high. It added it was aware a small number of retailers were hiking prices amid the soaring demand.

Ford has announced an £11.4 billion investment in electric vehicle (EV) production in the US, promising to build its biggest ever factory in Tennessee, and two battery parks in Kentucky.

It said it will build zero-emission cars and pickups “at scale” for American customers. It will also create 11,000 jobs.

Army on standby

The Army is ready to help ease fuel supply problems after a fourth day of long queues and pump closures, mainly in England.

Despite Environment Secretary George Eustice saying there were “no plans” to bring in the army, up to 150 military tanker drivers will prepare to deliver to forecourts which have run dry because of panic buying.

The surge in demand came amid fears a driver shortage would hit fuel supply – which is plentiful at refineries.

The surge in demand came amid fears a driver shortage would hit fuel supply – which is plentiful at refineries.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We are starting to see panic buying moderate with more grades of fuel available at more petrol stations.”

The UK is estimated to be short of more than 100,000 lorry drivers – causing problems for a range of industries, including food suppliers and supermarkets, in recent months.

An initial 75 military drivers are said to be on standby, with up to 150, and the same number of support staff, available if needed. They require specialised training which takes up to five days.

British Chambers of Commerce president, Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE said a plan to manage the switch from EU to UK sourced labour should have been in place from the outset.

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