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U.K. Winter Weather Causing Gasoline Shortages, Retailers Say

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Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Freezing temperatures and snow in the U.K. are causing shortages of gasoline, the RMI Independent Petrol Retailers Association said.

The weather is disrupting the supply chain, leaving up to 500 retailers, particularly those located away from cities, at risk of running out of fuel, the association said in an e-mailed press release today. Tankers have been unable to leave Total SA’s Lindsey refinery and ConocoPhillips’s Killingholme plant, both in northeast England.

“Acute problems of supply, particularly of diesel, are being reported by our rural members in the north-east of England and eastern Scotland,” Brian Madderson, chairman of RMI Petrol, said in the statement. “A number of filling stations are already reported to be out of fuel. The crisis is now spreading south. By the end of the weekend, tens of thousands of motorists could have no fuel.”

The earliest widespread snowfall since 1993 in Britain has frozen over roads, disrupting traffic. Freezing weather is likely to last until at least Dec. 8, according to private forecaster British Weather Services. The worst-hit areas overnight were south London, Sussex, Kent and Hampshire with as much as 8 inches (20 centimeters) of snow, said Robin Thwaytes, a spokesman for the state-funded Met Office.

Refinery terminals in Grangemouth, Falkirk and Coryton are also having problems with distribution. Companies with facilities in the eastern part of the U.K. report they are at least two days behind normal delivery schedules, RMI said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Swint in London at bswint@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net