• Aug 2nd 2010 at 1:03PM
  • 5
Back in 1967, the number of gas stations in the UK hit a record high at 39,958. Flash forward to 2008 and the total had dwindled down to just 9,263. By 2009, despite the fact that the number of registered vehicles had soared past 34 million, total operational gas stations plummeted to a record low of 9,013. In that same year, 179 independent gas stations called it quits and big names like BP, Texaco and Total closed the doors of 64 stations as well.

The decline in operational gas stations in the UK is attributed to rising fuel costs and a recession that has hit the economy hard. Though motorists in the UK may have to drive farther to fill up, industry analysts predict that a full tank will now cost them a bit less and, as gas stations compete to stay alive, falling prices may become the norm. As Arthur Renshaw, account manager of Experian Catalist, experts in retail gasoline operations, remarked, "Unexpectedly, the motorist is emerging as the winner at the end of what has been a painful shakedown for the petrol retail industry."

While low prices can bring joy to motorists, a continued decline in total gasoline stations could become problematic. As Brian Madderson, chairman of RMI Petrol predicts:
I see a continuing decline, perhaps to 7,000-7,500 stations. There are already parts of Britain – Wales, East Anglia, Cornwall – where you have to be sure you have a full tank of fuel before you venture there. If you're going on holiday you have to pack your suitcase, your golf clubs and two canisters of petrol, just in case.
If predictions hold true, motorists in the UK may pay less per gallon of gas, but be inconvenienced by having to drive further to get it. As we see it, that additional driving would burn more gas, potentially offsetting any savings seen at the pump, right?
Hat tip to Andy!

[Source: Telegraph | Image: Orin Zebest – C.C. License 2.0]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      Perhaps the number of 'Bowsers' is a more relevant statistic than individual locations.

      Back in 1967 petrol stations were commonly only a small corner forecourt with maybe only 1 or 2 bowsers. Many were next to mechanical workshops as a way to generate repair business.

      These days it's the era of the super forecourt with up to a couple dozen bowsers with grocery and fast food outlets being the ancillary business. as the number of 'mega-stations' increases it's inevitable the smaller stations they replace will close in greater numbers.

      It's also a fact that a smaller number of oil company owned retail outlets REDUCES price competition and allows them the opportunity to micro manage fuel prices not only by region or day of the week but also by the time of day down the the hour based on previous purchase trend data.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is a website of subsidized untalented businessmans. i said months ago to sell or offer free hydrogen fuel at groceries stores and make 4 millions new unemployed in the petrol trading industry.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So reduced competition = lower price? That doesn't make sense.

      And the retail mark-up (at least in the USA), is almost nothing. No matter what gas station situation is, it doesn't really matter. What matters is the price of a barrel of oil and the amount of taxes on each liter.

      And as the poster above pointed out, the all-time low is zero. That article is complete bunk. Someone has no clue what they are talking about.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "total operational gas stations plummeted to an all-time low of 9,013."

      Actually Eric, the all time low is 0.
      Maybe you mean the lowest level since 19XX?
      • 8 Months Ago
      Whoa Europe is self serve gas? Hey kewl, like California ^_^.
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