Every post apocalyptic movie has that one scene – the one where weary hero, who walks empty roads in a seemingly desert wasteland, stumbles upon a deserted gas station that has been picked clean of all fuel and supplies.
That scene can now be played out for real in the United Kingdom (UK). There are now only 8,500 functional gas stations in the UK. To put things into perspective, in the 1990’s the UK had 21,000 functional gas stations. This downward trend of open functional gas stations is not predicted to end; some reports show that the number of gas stations open in the UK could drop to 7,500 over the next decade. Currently around 62,262,000 people are living in the UK. Of those, about 38,000,000 have a full U.K. driver’s license.
This dramatic drop off in gas stations has many people in the UK worried that some parts of the kingdom will become “fuel deserts” – miles of dusty road with no gas in sight.
As scary as that sounds, it is already happening. Since 2002, gas stations in the UK have been shutting at an average rate of 600 a year. In Scotland there are only 36 operational gas stations. Granted, Scotland is small, but the people still drive, in fact there are 163,000 drivers in Scotland. With 163,000 drivers and only 36 gas stations that makes a ratio of one gas station for every 4,538 drivers.
Northeast Wales has the very best ratio of drivers to functional gas stations with one gas station for every 1,023 drivers. The U.K. as a whole has a ratio of one gas station for about every 4,470 drivers. In the U.S., which has about 210 million registered drivers and 115,000 filling stations, the ratio is about one station for every 1,826 drivers.
Independently owned stations of the UK, many of which are branded with the name of major oil companies, are closing fast. The main reason for the closures is that the price of business is going up, and so is the price of the product. The stations must buy their oil from independent fuel wholesalers; this adds an additional layer of costs to the already steep cost of gas.
Sounds like yet another good reason to switch an alternative fuel vehicle. Do you ever see this happening in America though?
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail.