Retailers are already reporting fuel shortages as motorists start panic-buying in response to tanker drivers voting in favour of a strike yesterday.

Many retailers across the country are seeing a 10-100% increase on normal fuel purchase levels, according to RMI Petrol.

Brian Madderson, chairman of RMIP, said: “There’s quite clearly panic buying. We’ve heard from some Shell sites that have run out of fuel and certain sites are down on certain grades of fuel, particularly diesel.

“Shell’s VMI system is getting overworked and coping very badly with repeat orders and Total is struggling a little,” he added.

Panic buying is further raising concerns of the country’s energy resilience with storage capacity at its lowest level ever as site numbers continue to dwindle, and Madderson said the army was the answer to the problem of fuel supply in the event of a driver strike.

“Back-up plans are nowhere near ready to go out. Our state of preparedness is abject,” he said.

RMIP will be issuing guidance notes to retailers on the fuel supply situation imminently.