Just like then, the drivers besieging pumps and causing traffic jams by queuing to fill up are exhibiting a selfishness that can only make matters worse and potentially cause problems for the vulnerable or key workers who have a real need for petrol.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is right to point out that there is plenty of fuel to go around, if only motorists behave sensibly. Britain is short of neither petrol nor diesel, only the HGV drivers to deliver it to filling stations.
The Government can be accused of sluggishness in not addressing driver shortages sooner. Its announcement of temporary visas for foreign drivers to plug gaps is welcome, but should have been made weeks ago in response to calls from industry leaders who correctly foresaw what would happen.
Inevitably, it will take some time for those additional drivers to be recruited, so delivery problems are likely to continue for days, if not weeks, to come.
Against that backdrop, it is incumbent upon the public to behave responsibly. Drivers should not be filling their tanks up needlessly, nor scrambling to fill as many petrol cans as they can fit in their boots.
Panic buying never helps anybody. It only aggravates problems and Britons, frankly, should display more common sense.