Coronavirus: forecourts face closure, PRA warns

According to government figures, 60% of forecourts have seen decreased demand

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Forecourts “will have to close in the coming weeks” due to decreased fuel sales, the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) has warned.

According to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, nearly 60% of petrol filling stations across the UK have shown much lower levels of fuel demand due to the public following government guidelines of staying indoors.

Petrol consumption was down by 75% while diesel volumes decreased by 71%. The figures account for independent and supermarket-managed forecourts.

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The PRA warned petrol stations in rural areas will be heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Brian Madderson, chairman of the PRA, said. “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”

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He added other challenges include staff shortages, competition on fuel price from supermarket forecourts and a lack of flexibility on delivery loads and credit terms from fuel suppliers.

“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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