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Decline in local petrol stations blamed on supermarkets

Finding there are fewer places to fill up? There’s a good reason. Petrol station numbers have dropped sharply over the last six years, according to the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA).

886 petrol station forecourts – about 10 per cent of the UK total – closed between 2008 and 2013 at a loss of 6,000 jobs, according to the PRA. It warned the closures, 332 of which were in rural areas, could create ‘fuel deserts’ where local residents could become isolated.

Supermarkets and the trend of filling up during the weekly shop are said to be to blame. The fact motorists are buying less fuel is also likely to play a contributing factor. 

“The closure of each and every petrol forecourt means the loss of local jobs for local people and has a negative impact on the economy in the area,” PRA chairman Brian Madderson commented. 

“We are particularly concerned with the 332 sites in rural locations which have closed, creating ’Fuel Deserts’ in those communities which rely on the service the most,” he added. 

Critics argue local petrol stations and shops find it more difficult to deal with the regulations associated with alcohol and tobacco and are, therefore, less able to compete with supermarkets. It is feared the government’s plan for plain packaging on cigarettes will only make matters worse. 

There are now around 8,000 petrol stations in the UK, a far cry from the 37,500 in 1970. Before you get too upset, scientists believe they may be rendered obsolete sooner rather than later. 

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