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Fuel Card Blog Updates: The decline of the petrol station

Motorists. We know they don’t get it easy. Soaring fuel prices make the headlines pretty much every week and are causing a significant impact on wallets, journeys, jobs and livelihoods.

But now we know that UK drivers are being dealt a doubly painful blow when it comes to fuel prices. As if it didn’t make life hard enough that we’re paying extortionate amounts every time we fill up, we also have fewer petrol stations than we did in the early 1990s.

The Fuelcard Company, which endeavours to save small businesses and fleets as much money as possible on fuel via fuel cards, was disgusted at research highlighting that the number of petrol stations has more than halved in the space of twenty years, forcing people to drive out of their way to access the nearest or cheapest forecourt. How does the Government expect motorists to carry on using their cars at all without taking action in their favour? The number of sites has fallen from 21,000 in 1991 to fewer than 9,000 today. Meanwhile, the number of cars on the road has increased to 31 million. How does that work?

To call that an imbalance is an understatement. The severe reduction in forecourts can be attributed largely to the sad closure of smaller independent petrol stations as a result of the expansion of larger sites and supermarket chains.

But this is causing major problems for hard-pressed motorists. The extra money spent on travelling to petrol stations has to come from somewhere, whether it’s the family groceries budget that gets cut, or money towards other bills.

This is also an example of how ‘shopping around’ is sometimes not as practical as it sounds. If motorists have to travel further to enjoy the most competitive pump prices, they’re no longer competitive. If motorists have to travel out of their way to get fuel of any price, burning more fuel in the process, it’s only a matter of time before any price is too high a price.
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