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Petrol stations could shut as fuel sales dry up

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Many petrol stations may be forced to shut in the coming weeks as fuel sales dry up and businesses become unviable.

This is the warning from the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), the trade body which represents independent fuel retailers.

It said petrol stations in rural areas were particularly vulnerable.

“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 Brian Madderson, chairman of the PRA.

A survey this weekend from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said petrol consumption was down by 75% and diesel down by 71% as consumers stayed at home on the advice of the government.

The survey also confirmed that over 60% of filling stations had full storage tanks of both grades.

The PRA said independent fuel retailers faced the additional challenges of staff shortages as employees self-isolate and fuel price competition from supermarkets.

Madderson said: “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.”

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