Breakdown services are in chaos after being swamped by motorists left stranded when their tanks ran dry.
Major firms, including the AA, have seen a surge in call-outs as drivers unable to find fuel attempt to make journeys with dangerously low levels.
And the sharp rise has led to scores of motorists complaining of long delays after breaking down.
Experts warned tow trucks are also at risk of running out of fuel, which could worsen wait times and leave drivers stuck at the side of the road.
British Army are seen delivering fuel to a Shell Garage in New Forest Hampshire as they were shown how to unload the fuel into the forecourt tanks
Queues at Tesco filling station in Ely, Cambridgeshire on Sunday morning at 8.30am
Green Flag even published a warning on its website stating it may only be able to help customers if the driver is ‘vulnerable’ or in a dangerous location.
Panicked motorists have also been caught out after filling up with the wrong type of fuel after queuing for hours at forecourts.
Simon Williams, of the RAC, said: ‘We’ve seen a sharp increase in the number of our members who have broken down as a result of running out of fuel, and last Monday alone we attended twice as many drivers in a single day for this problem than we would normally see over a whole week.’
The AA and Green Flag also reported being inundated with calls – but said numbers calmed as last week wore on.
The Green Flag website also warns: ‘We don’t have any special access to fuel…. Unfortunately if you break down there could be a delay in our technician getting to you.’
The AA said the number of call-outs where drivers had run out of fuel rose by 600 per cent during the first weekend of the crisis.
The fuel crisis is ‘absolutely horrendous’ in London and the South East, industry leaders have warned today as panic-buyers continue to leave forecourts dry, petrol prices soar and Army personnel are poised to start delivering fuel from tomorrow
Motorists could be fined £100 and handed three penalty points if a shortage of fuel causes a dangerous obstruction on the road.
Brian Brown, consumer finance expert at Defaqto, said: ‘If you have breakdown cover, your provider will most likely be able to help you out by towing you to a petrol station.’
Edmund King, AA president, said the firm was ‘seeing daily improvements’.
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