09 Mei 2008


Sebuah studi mengenai deskripsi dan prospek bisnis SPBU di daerah pedesaan Skotlandia yang dilakukan oleh Konsultan Riset Roger Sidaway dari Environmental Resources Management, The Scottish Office Central Research Unit (versi bahasa Inggris)

In recognition of the strategic importance of petrol supplies to Scotland's rural economy and increasing public concern over the decline in rural petrol station numbers, The Scottish Office commissioned this study to examine the economic, social and environmental issues of petrol stations in rural Scotland.

Main Findings

+ The study identified a total of 815 petrol stations in rural Scotland. Almost half of these (45%), were located in remote rural areas, defined as at least 1 hour's drive-time from major population settlements.
+ Rural petrol stations tend to be small, and the throughput of the average rural petrol station is less than half of the average UK petrol station.
+ 87% are independently owned, compared with the UK average of 43%.
+ 59% of rural petrol stations have at least one underground petrol storage tank over 20 years old. 12% have a tank over 40 years old.
+ Rural petrol stations employ an average of 3.5 full time staff and 3.1 part time staff.
+ There has been a significant decline in the number of petrol stations in rural Scotland in recent years. This trend is likely to continue, and it is estimated that around 100 rural petrol stations are most vulnerable to closure.
+ Rural petrol stations are considered to be most vulnerable to closure as a result of petrol price competition effects (which result in declining throughputs at rural stations as motorists seek cheaper urban fuel) and the effects of certain environmental and health and safety regulations which are expected to require capital investment by stations.
+ A total of 430 rural petrol stations are likely to incur capital costs of between £3,000 and £6,000 to install Stage 1 Petrol Vapour Recovery controls over the next 6 years. Given the extended period smaller stations have to meet the requirements, it would appear that most stations ought to be able to cover these costs.

Rural petrol supplies in Scotland have been recognised by the Scottish Office to be of strategic economic and social importance. In response to public concerns about the decline in rural petrol supplies, this project was commissioned by The Scottish Office General Agricultural Policy and Rural Development Division to examine the impacts of petrol station closure and to identify a range of possible ways to secure adequate petrol supplies in such areas.

Characteristics of Rural Petrol Stations
Methods used for the study included the development of a database of rural petrol stations, surveys of a sample of petrol stations and consultations with key organisations with interests in the issue of rural petrol supplies.

A total of 815 petrol stations were identified. These were classified by remoteness (based on drivetimes from urban areas) and size (based on petrol throughputs). The data show that the population of petrol stations is heavily biased towards a large number of small stations and a small number of very large stations, and that the smallest stations tend to be located in the remotest areas. 45% of rural petrol stations are located in areas classified as remote rural, defined as at least one hour's drive time from major population settlements of 30,000 inhabitants or above. The average rural petrol station was found to have a throughput of around 1 million litres per annum - approximately half of the average UK petrol station.

When age of station infrastructure was considered, 59% of stations were found to have at least one underground petrol storage tank over 20 years old and 12% have at least one tank over 40 years old.

There are two principal forms of petrol station ownership - company owned and independent. Company owned sites are those petrol stations which are owned by an oil company or petrol wholesaler and which may be operated by a company manager, tenant, licensee or agent. The operator is therefore contractually tied to the owning company. Independently owned sites are free to secure petrol supply and other agreements with any wholesaler. In rural Scotland a high percentage (87%) of petrol stations are independently owned, compared with the UK average of 43%. There is also a much higher proportion of independent ownership amongst the smaller sites.

Business turnover for rural petrol stations was found to be greatest among locations closer to urban areas. However, petrol stations in these locations were found to have amongst the lowest rates of profitability, with sites in the very remote locations being on average more profitable.

Petrol Pricing
Although not a key part of the study, retail petrol prices were surveyed during the study. Analysis of the data showed that the greatest proportion of petrol stations retailing the most expensive petrol were located in the remotest areas. Survey information suggests that motorists in these locations are paying up to £112 per year more than the national average, adding 4.5% to the typical UK cost of motoring in rural areas.

Importance of Petrol Stations
Rural petrol stations are important in terms of their contribution to the strategic and local economy, as a source of local employment and as a community facility.

Tourism is a key economic sector in most parts of rural Scotland, and because of the high proportion of tourists travelling by car, petrol stations both support and are supported by the tourist trade.

Study data show that rural petrol stations employ an average 3.5 full time staff and 3.1 part time staff. Total petrol station employment in rural areas is estimated as 3,700 full time equivalent jobs plus spin-off effects in the local economy of perhaps a further 750 jobs.

Rural petrol stations can offer an important community service through the provision of non-petrol goods and products ranging from groceries to post office facilities. An average of 8 non-petrol services per station was derived from the study, and stations in remoter areas were found to offer a slightly greater range of services. 13% of petrol station operators considered that their site was the only provider of 1 or more of the services it offered within a 5 mile radius.

Vulnerability of Rural Petrol Stations
Two key factors influencing petrol station vulnerability have been identified:
+ petrol price competition; and
+ regulatory pressures.

Petrol stations in peri-urban and rural areas are at greater risk of declining throughputs as a result of intense price competition from sources of cheap urban petrol stations (including hypermarkets and large oil company sites). The study identified independent sites with low throughputs of less than half a million litres per annum and below average profitability as being particularly vulnerable to closure. Around 60 petrol stations were identified as being the most vulnerable to closure from this effect.

Regulatory pressures stem principally from changes in health, safety and environmental regulation which is predicted to result in requirements for capital expenditure, for example on tank replacement. Stations vulnerable to regulatory pressures have been identified using below average throughput and profitability and with aged storage tanks as the key criteria. A total of approximately 70 sites have been identified as most vulnerable to closure.

The effect of the requirement for Petrol Vapour Recovery (PVR) at rural petrol stations was also assessed. It is estimated that a total of 430 rural sites will need to spend between £3,000 and £6,000 to install Stage 1B controls over the next six years. Given the staged periods for implementation according to station throughput, it would appear that most stations ought to be able to cover these costs.

If the current derogation which exempts new small stations is not extended to existing sites, an additional 157 sites would be brought within Stage 1B requirements at a cost of around £700,000. No stations are considered to be directly at risk from PVR Stage 1B alone whilst the derogation continues to apply.

Impacts of Petrol Station Closures
Allowing for overlaps between the petrol stations identified as being most vulnerable to closure in the above categories, it is estimated that around 100 sites are most vulnerable to closure over the next 5 years.

The effect of this level of closures would be as follows:
+ the loss of 365 full time equivalent jobs (direct employment) or about 9% of employment in rural petrol stations;
+ increased inconvenience for rural communities, particularly those in remote areas where there are few other suppliers of goods and services;
+ an environmental impact of an additional 8.5 million miles of car travel per year (giving rise to an additional 1,900 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions);
+ an increased cost to motorists of additional travel of around £55 per year in petrol and £250 per year in total motoring costs.

The study identified a range of suggested measures to slow the rate of decline in the number of petrol stations. Possible measures at a national level include amendments to duty on petrol in rural areas and sustaining derogations from PVR, as well as recent action by oil companies to lower wholesale petrol prices to retailers. At a regional level, implementation of rate relief for petrol stations will provide some financial benefit and useful measures which are currently being adopted in some locations by local authorities and enterprise companies include grants and loans for tank testing and capital equipment replacement. Technical measures such as unmanned filling stations may have a useful application in some cases.

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