Skip advert
Advertisement

Fuel stations risk closure as petrol sales fall 75%

Many petrol stations, particularly those in rural areas, will have to close due to poor sales during the coronavirus lockdown

e10

Many petrol stations in the UK, particularly those in rural areas, will have to close in the coming weeks, with the coronavirus shutdown having led to a 75 per cent reduction in petrol sales, while diesel sales are down 71 per cent.

The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) was warned that the lack of sales is making running some fuel stations unviable, with smaller, independent operators most at risk. Filling stations of this sort have already started closing in rural areas of the west country, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Brian Madderson, chairman of the PRA, told Auto Express that while some of these retailers are closing “in the short term”, it’s unknown whether some of those more severely affected will be able to start back up again once the COVID-19 lockdown has passed.

Advertisement - Article continues below

In addition, a number of filling station staff are having to self-isolate, supermarkets are continuing to compete fiercely with independent retailers, and some fuel suppliers are not offering much flexibility on delivery loads and credit terms.

The PRA says it aims to keep a strategic network of petrol stations open across the UK, but advises drivers to check their local fuel station is open before they go to fill up. That said, it’s thought that large fuel stations run by supermarkets and oil companies will remain open, so there shouldn’t be any cases of panic buying.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has conducted a survey of nearly 60 per cent of all filling stations across the UK. As well as confirming the sales drops, it also showed that over 60 per cent of the UK’s fuel stations have full storage tanks of both petrol and diesel.

They would have purchased this fuel weeks ago at much higher wholesale prices than today’s, with Brent Crude (a benchmark price for worldwide oil purchasing) having collapsed to an 18-year low of $20 (approximately £16) per barrel.

The PRA is now calling on the Government to instruct fuel suppliers to give the same 60-day credit terms to independent filling stations as they give to the supermarkets.

“To help freight move and help key workers travel safely and independently through this period of crisis, petrol filling stations must remain open, but this is proving to be a challenge for many filling stations,” said Madderson.

“Fuel retailers are having to maintain pump prices at previous levels to avoid suffering significant stock losses. When the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and high sales volumes return, then we expect to see reductions in retail fuel prices.

“Petrol stations are the Government’s tax collectors, with duty and VAT representing 70 per cent of the pump price. It is in their interests that we remain open for business.”

Click here for our guide on how to cut fuel costs...

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Driving test bookings: huge waiting lists play into the hands of fraudsters
News

Driving test bookings: huge waiting lists play into the hands of fraudsters

Crooks and chancers are making a packet out of the failing UK driving test system, and its learner drivers who are paying the price
7 Sep 2023
New car delivery times 2023: how long will you have to wait?
New car waiting times
Features

New car delivery times 2023: how long will you have to wait?

No one likes having to wait for their new car so we called key manufacturers to get their latest UK lead times
12 Jun 2023

Most Popular

Ooh la la: new DS flagship to get inspiration from world’s coolest car
DS flagship - exclusive image
News

Ooh la la: new DS flagship to get inspiration from world’s coolest car

The iconic Citroen DS was voted the world’s coolest car by our readers and now DS is aiming for the same success with its new premium flagship
15 May 2024
New Skoda Octavia 2024 facelift review: updates strengthen a strong hand
Skoda Octavia 2024 facelift international drive
Road tests

New Skoda Octavia 2024 facelift review: updates strengthen a strong hand

Skoda's family car hero gets a little bit better with the latest facelift, and it was pretty good to start with.
14 May 2024
Car Deal of the Day: 18 months with the eye-catching Peugeot 208 for £140 per month
Peugeot E-208 - main image
News

Car Deal of the Day: 18 months with the eye-catching Peugeot 208 for £140 per month

Our Deal of the Day for 14 May is ideal for those looking for a stylish stopgap car
14 May 2024