Fuel panics: insights from spatial agent-based simulation

Upton, Eben and Nuttall, William James (2014). Fuel panics: insights from spatial agent-based simulation. IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, 15(4) pp. 1499–1509.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/TITS.2014.2302358


The United Kingdom has twice suffered major disruptions as a result of fuel panics, first in September 2000, coincident with a wave of fuel protests, and, more recently, in March 2012, following political warnings of a possible future supply chain disruption. In each case, the disruption and economic consequences were serious. In this paper, we demonstrate that agent-based techniques offer a powerful framework for simulation of supply chains and consumers under conditions of transient demand. In the case of fuel panic crisis, we show that even a highly abstract model can reproduce a range of transient phenomena seen in the real world and present a set of practical recommendations for policymakers faced with panic buying.

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