Panic at the pumps has led to swathes of filling stations in and around the capital running dry and the Army being deployed for emergency tanker deliveries.
With many forecourts shuttered and long queues for the limited stock still available, some drivers could be considering turning to alternative fuels to keep them moving.
Online motoring forums have seen users discuss the prospect of using paraffin, which is also known as kerosene in the United States, to keep their motors running in these unsettled times.
But experts at the UK’s leading vehicle leasing firm Select Car Leasing have issued strong advice NOT to take a chance with alternative fuels for a number of important reasons.
Graham Conway, Managing Director of Select Car Leasing, said: “Not only will pouring paraffin into your tank risk causing serious mechanical problems, it could also land you in trouble with the law and even put your life in danger.
“That’s because paraffin has a different density to petrol and diesel, which means it’s less lubricant and using it can result in increased wear and tear in the engine.
“This could lead to parts burning out and cause serious issues such as engine fires.”
Paraffin is also classed as a ‘rebated oil’ by HMRC as it is taxed at a lower rate due to it “not being intended for road vehicles”.
Other rebated oils include ‘red diesel’, which is often used in agricultural and manufacturing machinery.
It’s illegal to use them unless you have a licence to do so and being caught would lead to your vehicle being seized and you being handed a £250 fine under section 9 of the Finance Act 1994.
Conway added, “It’s understandable that people are worried if they have to make a journey and they are low on fuel.
“But it’s definitely better to wait until the fuel supply issues have been rectified rather than start using alternative fields such as paraffin that bring with them a whole host of serious problems.”