Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Britain in danger of running dry?

Apparently the number of petrol stations is at its lowest since 1912. With 150 forecourts having closed down already this year there is increasing concern about how difficult it might be to refuel in future.*

The pressures on retailers are understandable. For each pound (sterling not avoirdupois) of fuel sold something like 70-80 pence is tax revenue for the government which doesn't leave much money to cover the cost of the fuel, pay for the infrastructure and staff. No wonder petrol station shops all seem to be turning into mini supermarkets.

Urban petrol stations must also feel the pressure of high demand for land, forcing rents upwards. In the town wher I used to live I know two petrol station sites that are now residential flats.

Is there a solution? Probably not one single solution, more tax relief for petrol stations (especially those that are not associated with supermarkets) would help. Even more important is for us all to think about where we buy fuel. I could fill my car at the supermarket when I do my weekly shop but instead I support the petrol station in my village. It is more expensive but the loss of the only petrol station is more important than a few pounds in my pocket.

*Source: Retail Motor Industry Federation

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