The situation has prompted independent retailers to take their case to the House of Commons after comments made by managing director of Shell UK Downstream Oil Colin Harvey, indicating the number of filling stations could fall by half to just 8,000.
Members of the Petroleum Retailers' Association told the Commons trade and industry committee that casualties among smaller retailers could lead to inadequate cover in rural areas forcing motorists to drive further to fill up and pushing up costs and emissions. In its evidence to the committee, however, the Office of Fair Trading said it could find no shortage of competition within the industry and no evidence of predatory tactics. According to Harvey outlets have fallen from 38,000 in 1965 to 16,000.
IN its monthly report, PHH said Belfast was the most expensive place to fill up with both diesel and unleaded at 58p per litre, while Glasgow offered the best value at 53p and 52p per litre. Scotland was cheapest for 4-star with garages in Inverness charging 58p per litre, while Buxton was the most expensive at 62p per litre. National averages: Diesel 56p, Super Unleaded 59p, Unleaded 55p, 4-star 60p.