Health experts have warned road users to wash their hands or use sanitiser after touching the pumps to help kill off harmful germs. The Irish Petroleum Industry has confirmed stations around the country were being provided extra sanitiser and paper towels to use amid the crisis.
Fuel pumps are touched by hundreds of road users every day which has led motorists to worry the handles could become a hotbed for germs.
However, the UK Petroleum Industry Association (UKPIA) has denied claims the virus was spread rapidly through petrol stations.
In a statement they said there was no evidence to suggest germs spread more easily in petrol stations than any other hard surfaces.
They said: “We are not aware of any evidence that fuel nozzle handles or other forecourt features, such as pay-at-pump keypads, are any more or less prone to the spread of COVID-19 than other hard surfaces.”
However, some petrol stations have been accused of trying to cash in amid the crisis after increasing the value of products.
A garage in Kilmarnock was spotted selling hand sanitiser for £20 due to a shortage of the product around the town.
A petrol station in Cambridgeshire was also seen selling a bottle of hand sanitiser for an eye-watering £6 amid the crisis.
The boss of the BP garage where the gel was sold claimed the act had nothing to do with the garage itself, adding it was a cashier’s initiative to increase the cost.
“It’s times like this when we need to support one another, no matter how big or small we will get through this.”
Petrol stations remain open despite the lockdown as they are considered an essential service.
However, the coronavirus lockdown means you should only be using a vehicle for essential journeys including going to the shops for food and medicine or travelling to work.
Police can now issue fines of up to £60 to road users that break the restrictions.
Total charges can be reduced to £30 if these are paid within 14 days although road users could be arrested under certain circumstances.
Despite the lockdowns, fuel prices have dramatically fallen as global demand for oil continues to fall.
Prices fell for the seventh consecutive week as petrol dropped to an average of 119.64 per litre.
Published at Sun, 29 Mar 2020 07:46:00 +0000