In the summer, Think Insurance brought to you an article about the number of petrol stations closing down, with experts placing the blame firmly at the door of supermarket giants.
Today things are looking no better as motorists across the UK are finding themselves driving miles out of their way to fill up at the pump. More and more petrol stations up and down the country are closing, in fact since the early 90’s, more than half of our petrol stations have shut up shop.
New research has revealed that we now have less than 9k petrol stations in the UK, which is a massive drop since 1991 when we had more than double that, at 21k. Interestingly the drop in the number of stations comes as we see the number of cars on our roads doubling to 31 million.
Motorists having to drive out of their way just to fill up are incurring extra costs to their already stretched budgets. Rising living costs and motoring costs are crippling many families and these extra miles to get to the petrol pumps is taking its toll on many. Add to this the increased carbon emissions and we don’t have a pretty picture.
While the whole of the UK has been hit by the closures, some places have definitely got it worse than others. Counties in the South of England are suffering with huge gaps across the countryside with no stations for miles, known in the industry as ‘fuel deserts’. According to Palmer and Harvey (wholesale supplier to forecourt shops), 8 of the 10 fuel deserts are in the South of England.
Torridge in Devon has the lowest ratio of cars to petrol stations, followed closely by Slough and then Rushmoor in Hampshire.
The Chief Executive at Palmer and Harvey, Chris Etherington, comments on the findings, “These fuel deserts lead to massive inconvenience for the already hard-pressed motorist, and also to the loss of a focal point in communities that have often lost their local pub, village shop, post office or even, in the worst cases, their entire high street.”
Etherington goes on to say that so many villages only have the local forecourt left, so to lose these could have a devastating effect on the local communities.
The independent, rural petrol station are at the highest risk of closure due to the cost of fuel on the wholesale market, combined with rising costs and taxes. Not to mention the fierce competition from the supermarket giants.
This article was brought to you by Think Insurance, specialists in Motor Trade Insurance policies.