Fuel suppliers will be able to work together to tackle shortages brought about by a weekend of panic-buying from motorists.

Petrol stations across Basingstoke were rammed over the weekend after motorists descended on the pumps, sparked after concerns from BP that the HGV driver shortage could impact its ability to keep up with fuel deliveries.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng met with oil companies and retailers yesterday, and opted to temporarily exempt the industry from the Competition Act to allow the industry to share information so it can target areas where fuel supply is running low.

The triggering of what is known as the Downstream Oil Protocol comes as the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) warned that as many as two-thirds of its membership of nearly 5,500 independent outlets was out of fuel, with the rest of them “partly dry and running out soon”.

The government and retailers made clear on Friday that there was no petrol shortage, so long as motorists went about their usual routines. But that did not stop drivers flocking to the pumps on Friday and over the course of the weekend, with long queues at many stations.

In a separate joint statement from the likes of Shell, ExxonMobile and Greenergy, the industry reiterated that the pressures on supply were being caused by “temporary spikes in customer demand, not a national shortage of fuel”.

PRA chairman Brian Madderson told the BBC the shortages were down to “panic buying, pure and simple”, with priority by oil companies being afforded to keeping motorway service station pumps topped up.

According to The Times, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is mulling whether to send the Army in to drive fuel tankers as a way of solving the current shortage of specialised drivers.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Sunday refused to rule out calling in the Army, telling the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show: “We will do whatever is required.

“The Army are going to at the moment make sure we are testing HGV drivers, that’s where the bottleneck is.”

The intervention comes less than 24 hours after the Government announced a temporary visa scheme that will see 5,000 foreign HGV drivers and 5,500 poultry workers allowed into the UK on three-month contracts up to Christmas Eve in an attempt to keep supermarket shelves stocked with turkeys and tackle fuel delivery difficulties.