Coronavirus: Warnings over rural petrol station shutdowns
The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) has warned that the COVID-19 epidemic could see rural petrol stations forced to close due to an abrupt drop in demand making it impossible for them to stay in business.
Demand for fuel has dropped sharply in recent weeks since ‘stay at home’ regulations were brought in to help contain the spread of COVID-19. Official statistics from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy showed that petrol use had dropped by 75% and diesel by 71% this last weekend alone.
The PRA has also noted that petrol stations faced other challenges, including the need for staff to care for vulnerable family members or isolate for their own safety, problems with some credit suppliers and competition from supermarkets which have received generous credit terms by government order that do not apply to independent stations.
A statement by the PRA said: “The situation will particularly impact petrol filling stations in rural areas where fuel volumes are right down. We will aim to keep a strategic network of petrol stations open across the country, but people should check their petrol station is open before they go to fill up.”
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