The UK now has the lowest number of petrol stations since 1912

At 9,500 petrol station forecourts, the UK now has the lowest number of petrol stations in its history since 1912 according to figures just released. This year to date 150 filling stations have closed, according to industry body Catalist, on top of the large number in recent years.

The situation could become critical if the decline continues at this rate, according to Ray Holloway, director of the Petrol Retailers Association. "Motorists could soon find it more difficult to refuel their vehicles if filling stations continue to close at the current rate. Motorists are now noticing gaps in fuel availability, and if it gets worse as expected, they will certainly be inconvenienced when searching for a forecourt in some areas.

filling station
Britain now has the lowest number of petrol stations since 1912

"Closures are not just in rural areas either. Urban closures are causing equal inconvenience for motorists. Oil company outlets are being closed as fast as independents are forced out of business. Strong supermarket outlet growth since the 1990s and resulting squeeze on margin has made motor fuel retailing a very unprofitable business."

Mr Holloway called for the UK government in Westminster to follow the example of the Scottish Executive who have a grants scheme to assist forecourt retailers with capital investment. "The idea is to preserve businesses, and contribute to the continuation of fuel availability in all areas," he said.

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