Wheels-Near-U blog


The Plight of Rural Filling Stations

Posted in Ceredigion by Wheels Near U Team on the May 20th, 2008

“Tax-Man, Banks and Supermarkets are putting the squeeze on us” Says Jeff

Jeff, Croeslan Garage

Wheels Near U asks, what’s going on here?
I have been running the village garage and shop for the last 23 years now says Jeff, 23 years ago petrol was 30p per litre and the profit on that was 3p a litre so that was 10% profit on turnover, not bad I hear you say?
The thing is that now with fuel at today’s £1.10 plus per litre price the garage owners share is still only 3p per litre, so we are now down to less than 3% profit. If that was not tough enough, these day’s people often pay with credit cards so the banks then take between 1 % and 2%commission, this brings our profit down to between1 and 2%! And that’s before we pay rates and electricity bills etc. never mind staff! I don’t know how long we can keep going on these margins, says Jeff.

Jef, Croeslan Petrol Station

The Taxman and the banks are laughing!!
Every time the tax-man puts the tax up on fuel the credit card company’s make more without doing any more work because they charge between 1 and 2 % of the overall transaction! And already the government plans another 2p per litre rise in fuel tax in October !!

Petrol Prices Rise

Do you know where your fuel pounds go?
The Tax man takes a whopping 75% (Duty and then VAT on top of the overall sale = 75%.)
The oil company’s share of around 22% (fair enough they have to produce and distribute.)
The independent retailer currently gets between 1 and 3 % depending on type of credit card used, if cash is paid then they may make 3% before overheads. Stick together or lose community services!

Whilst many motorists enjoy the convenience of filling up at the local station and support their owners, the average motorist is feeling the pinch and will often go out of their way to fill up at Supermarkets or Motor way services to save a few a few pence. Not realising that the price they may ultimately pay is the loss of their local garage and shop which is often the hub of community life. What’s needed in the absence of government support or action is for local motorists to be aware of the problem and give their support, in order to help keep up the volume of sales needed to prevent their local filling stations from closing.

Petrol Pump Prices

Supermarket / Discounted fuel won’t help local motorists in the long run.
We don’t do mechanics so my garage can only survive as long as we sell plenty of fuel says Jeff, but this is threatened by competition from the Supermarkets who have a policy of selling at just bellow the independent filling stations price’s. We believe this is done in order to help entice customers to their stores and also corner the fuel market for themselves. No doubt if these supermarkets are successful in knocking out the small stations, then they would raise their prices! At which point motorists especially those living out of town would have to burn more fuel to reach fewer stations. Worse for the environment, bad for the community and no good for the local economy.

They wouldn’t stand for it in France says Jeff, there would be riots!!

Petrol Pumped up Prices

More than 33 filling stations have stopped selling fuel within 30 miles of Llandysul alone. Since Jeff started trading here 23 years ago he has kept a list of garages that have stopped selling fuel or closed down within 30 miles of his filling station at Croeslan. And these are just the ones that Jeff has noticed!

Do you remember these filling stations?

Pontwelli and Highway in Llandysul, 2 in Pencader, Coedybryn, Penrewllan, Plwmp, there was 2 at Synod Inn now only one, 2 in Newcastle Emlyn (Adpar and the site which now has new houses on), 2 in Cardigan both within a stones throw of Tesco’s, 1 at Cwrtnewedd, Cwnalelfyd, Kings at Buela, Brongest, the Wern nr Newquay, Adams Garage Newquay, Cwmduad, 2 in Lampeter, (used to be two side by side), Cwman nr Lampeter, Llanllwni, Ffostrasol, Sarnau, Verwig, forge garage, 2 in Aberaron, 3 at Carmarthen, 1 on the way out towards Kidwelly flats and one where the new duel carriageway go’s through. Red Roses, Cwmcou, and Tafarn Bach Pontsian, Pentregat, And counting!

Use it or Loose it!

Wheels Near U speaks to other garage owners.
Wheels Near U Have spoken with 5 garages owners in the area and all say the same thing, it’s getting tougher! Each time there is a tax or raw oil price of 1 penny it costs them an extra £1000 to fill their storage tanks! ok they get this back by passing on the cost to the customers but the owner has to fund this extra £1000 up front without making any more them selves in fact they lose because they have to borrow more from the bank and pay the interest just to keep going!

Is it time for action??
Several garage owners quite rightly have suggested that if they all shut for just 1 day (to start with), this would get wide spread media attention and maybe then the government and or the oil industry would listen up and instigate some solutions. Perhaps one solution would be for the tax man to give a 1% discount/refund in fuel tax for rural locations, or a once a year rebate perhaps or maybe a WDA subsidy???. This could be done on green grounds as if local stations close then some motorists will have to drive significantly further to fill up causing more green house gas’s and costing the motorist more again in fuel!! Surely the government would not want to be seen causing more pollution whilst they gain more tax and the public spend more again??
Wheels near U Is committed to helping all motorists and trades associated with the motor industry and will be pleased to help the rural filling station owners however we can even if its just putting
like minded filling station owners in touch with each other. Please let us know by post email or phone if you would like to be involved or if you have any views on the subject. (Click here to contact us)

3 Responses to 'The Plight of Rural Filling Stations'

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  1. Paul Bassett said,

    on June 16th, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Hi, I found your site after searching for independent filling/petrol stations ijn the UK. I have always supported local /independent traders to a degree, but have been really inspired to do so more after reading the great book ‘Unchained America’ by Dave Gorman. It’s well worth a read, try to get it.
    Is the a list of independent filling stations that you know of, thinking on, maybe it could be made available as ‘POI’s’ (points of Interest for Sat Navs, I don’t know how, but I do know its possible, because I used to update the ‘safety’ camera locations as POI’s.


  2. on June 18th, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Hi Paul,

    An addon for Sat Nav’s along those lines would be great, it probably wouldn’t take much in terms of work but perhaps the difficulty would be drawing the line between little and large garages – where would you place a garage owner that owns 3+ garages for example?


  3. on July 5th, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    […] customers buying there are several loosers, but you won’t find any big companies on the list. Rural filling stations are hit hard when local supermarkets offer reduced prices to draw the masses, drivers of diesel […]