Fuel demand slumps by 75%, could force petrol stations to close

A slump in demand for fuel could see a number of petrol stations across the United Kingdom to close during this lockdown period

petrol station

Fuel stations across the UK could be forced to close after self-isolation measures introduced to fight the spread of the coronavirus caused a huge slump in demand.

According to a government survey, sales of petrol have fallen by an average of 75% in the week since the measures were enforced at a time when prices have come down significantly to their lowest levels since 2003.

The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), which represents the independent fuel retailers that make up the majority of UK forecourts, has warned many will need to close is they cannot make a business case for staying open.

“Many petrol stations will have to close in the coming weeks, as sales of fuel dry up and their businesses become unviable,” it said in a statement.

Initially there were concerns the impending lockdown would ultimately lead to a rush on fuel, but this never materialised as people adopted the ‘stay at home’ call and limited their movements.

As such, a number of forecourts in smaller rural areas are at risk of being closed for the foreseeable future, with motorists being urged to check their local station is open before they venture out. Fuel stations at motorway service stations are also being hit hard as people restrict their long-distance journeys on the advice of the government.

In what is something of a perfect storm of issues for petrol retailers, it comes as the price crude oil collapsed in recent weeks due to a price war being instigated between Saudi Arabia and Russia, forcing them to take the brunt of higher wholesale prices.