The drivers’ representatives are keen to return to Acas, possibly as early as Thursday.
Sky’s chief political correspondent Jon Craig said: “As one source put it to me, don’t go reaching for your jerry cans just yet because they do want to go back to Acas.
“And they want to do it with some urgency, perhaps as early as tomorrow morning because it the words of Unite sources they do want to do a deal, they do want to avert a dispute.”
A spokesman for Hoyer, one of the firms involved, described Unite’s decision as a “serious blow”.
“The team from Hoyer, along with other key industry employers, engaged fully and professionally in these talks and remain open to negotiation with a view to achieving a positive resolution to this dispute and avoid the possibility of any damaging strike action by Unite,” he said.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said: “We are disappointed that an agreement has yet to be reached.
There were chaotic scenes at garages last month
“We understand that these are complex issues but urge both parties to work towards a negotiated resolution with the support of Acas.
“The Government continues to believe that any strike action would be wrong and unnecessary.”
The row flared up last month after Unite announced that drivers in five companies had backed strikes.
In response, the Government advised motorists to top up their cars with petrol and to store fuel in jerry cans, leading to panic buying and shortages of supplies.
There were chaotic scenes at garages as long queues built up, leading to criticism of the Government for its handling of the dispute.