Drivers could be limited to between 15 and 20 litres of fuel if there are severe shortages this winter.
The Government has drawn up emergency plans to keep essential industries ticking over in the face of a fuel crisis.
The plans include contingency measures for heating healthcare settings and nursing homes as well plans for keeping emergency services and essential industries on the road.
The plans are being put together by the Government's Energy Security Emergency Group.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, group member and Fuels for Ireland CEO Kevin McPartland said the plans are ‘like a fire drill’ to ensure Ireland is prepared for the worst-case scenario.
“I said to somebody the other day, I’ve been in hundreds of fire drills but I’ve never been in a burning building,” he said.
“This is a drill. This work is to make sure we know what to do if the worst were to happen. We don’t expect it to.”
The plan includes more than 40 categories or emergency and essential workers and 130 hand-picked service stations that would supply fuel to them.
Mr McPartland said anyone not deemed an essential workers would only be able to purchase small amounts of fuel.
“It isn’t just the doctors and nurses and it is not just the official vehicles,” he said.
“It is about saying that, if you’re responsible for managing, for example, the electricity network, you need to be able to get to and from your place of work and there would be dedicated service stations exclusively for that use.
“But if we were in a situation where there were heavy restrictions, normal motorists might be limited to 15ltrs or 20ltrs [of fuel].”
He said the Ireland’s National Oil Reserves Agency (Nora) currently holds approximately 85 days of oil stock – which includes considerable quantities of home-heating kerosene which can be used in emergency situations.
Meanwhile, commercial stocks can hold a maximum of two to three weeks supply at any one time.
Mr McPartland said an emergency situation would likely involve a work from home order for non-essential workers.
“We wouldn’t keep doing what we are doing so the plan is how you prioritise, how you make sure that ambulances stay on the road, alongside fire vehicles and Garda vehicles and how you get food to the supermarket,” he said.
“There are tiers of users and depending on the perceived threat to security of supply, the response would be different.
“So it could be that only those absolutely essential users can have access to fuel in a catastrophic situation.”
He said food supply could be a logistical challenge as there are very few hauliers that deal exclusively in food products.
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