An electric car leasing company says sales and interest in greener vehicles is intensifying and is being accelerated by this week's panic buying at petrol pumps.
Electric vehicle experts Lease Electric Car says more drivers are now considering alternative fuel sources, amid the chaos at petrol stations and a rise in fuel prices, and orders for September are up more than 200% compared to this time last year.
Motorists have been swamping forecourts since Friday, when BP confirmed that an HGV driver shortage had left it struggling to supply a small number of its sites that were temporarily closing as a result.
As petrol stations continue to manage the high numbers of drivers wanting to fill up their tanks with petrol or diesel, the lease car company said it is leading to an upturn in the numbers of people logging on to its website to understand more about an alternative way to get around.
Electric cars can be charged by plugging in at home, or at charging points in places such as car parks and supermarkets, with no need to visit a petrol station and get fuel.
And with petrol prices also now at an eight-year-high - the switch to a greener option is proving attractive for a growing number of drivers.
Lease Electric Car offers a two or four-year loan option, to enable those keen to drive an electric vehicle to either try-out a car without the commitment of buying or be able to keep-up with the advances in technology every couple of years as makes and models change.
The firm, which leases nationwide through its website LeaseElectricCar.co.uk, says the ongoing uncertainty had encouraged a record numbers of inquiries.
Its experience is supported by Kent hire company EVision, based in Strood, which says it has noticed a 75% increase in the number of people wishing to rent an electric car during the current problems.
Aaron Homes, EVision sales engineer, added: "The figures haven't come in yet but on Saturday we had over 25 hires and on Monday alone we had 132 enquiries on the phone.
"We like to think that after about three weeks of driving an electric vehicle you don't see yourself driving a petrol vehicle again. Personally I think it's an eye-opener for people, showing it's possible to do their day to day driving in an electric car."
A spokesman for Lease Electric Car said it believes the current problems could hasten society's willingness to move to the alternative technology - rather like the effect the coronavirus pandemic had on the faster-than-expected move towards more flexible working patterns.
He said: "There is much uncertainty among motorists at the present time about the situation with petrol and diesel. Many drivers across the UK have spent a long time over the last week looking for petrol stations which are open in order to buy fuel.
“With the current struggles, it makes the concept of owning or leasing an electric car even more appealing, as people would not be reliant on a petrol or diesel pump in order to get around and make critical journeys. For these reasons it is perhaps no surprise more and more people are considering electric cars.”
There are currently around 300,000 completely electric cars, or battery electric vehicles on UK roads together with around 600,000 plug-in models and hybrids.
Under current government plans, the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030, with hybrid cars that use a combination of petrol or diesel and an electric motor to consume less fuel, given a stay of execution until 2035.
Green campaigners hope the policy will ensure electric cars will become more mainstream in the coming years as further investment in this type of vehicle takes place.
Earlier this year supermarket giant Morrisons announced that it was adding more than 100 ultra-fast car charging points to its existing supply of electric car chargers to build one of the biggest charging networks to be run by a retailer.
The company said plans would mean customers would never be more than 50 miles from a rapid charging point, what would re-charge their vehicle while they shopped or grabbed a bite to eat in a Morrisons cafe.