“Electric cars are going to send the petrol station into a death spiral over the next two decades”. Really? “It’s the end of the road for petrol stations”. Are you sure about that?
The BBC story is horrendously one-sided. Anyone unsure about the ins and outs of the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be left with little doubt. Petrol stations are going the same way as the Little Chef and Happy Eater: soon-to-be forgotten relics of the roadside.
The scaremongering starts early. “Imagine we were going the other way, replacing electric cars with fossil fuel power. You are writing the risk assessment for a new petrol station. You want to dig a big hole in the ground in the middle of town, put in some tanks and fill them up with an enormous amount of highly flammable fuel.
“Then you’re proposing to attach a really powerful pump and invite in random members of the public. They’ll arrive in vehicles with hot engines. You’ll hand them the really powerful pump that sprays the highly flammable liquid.
“Without any supervision they’ll use it to transfer large quantities of the highly flammable liquid into their hot vehicle, they’ll pay you and drive off. Are you OK to sign off on that? Do you think Health and Safety will give it the green light?
“My point is that fuelling cars with petrol and diesel is dangerous, which is why we do it at specially-designed centralised refuelling points.”
In other words, something we’ve done for more than a century is now akin to flying a kite close to an electricity pylon, throwing a frisbee in the proximity of a substation, or crossing the road without the guidance of Tufty Fluffytail.
Charley says that’s a load of nonsense. Do we really have to demonise petrol stations to make EVs look more attractive? Come on, we’re better than that.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the adoption of electric cars. PetrolBlog isn’t blinkered to the fact that petrol and diesel cars will decline in popularity, forcing fuel retailers to adapt to a changing market. A future of affordable, green private and public transport is a positive.
It just isn’t helpful when we’re being force-fed a vision of electric car utopia, leaving petrol stations to survive in a sort of post-apocalyptic wasteland. Will there be fewer places to refuel? Sure. Is the petrol station facing a “death spiral”? No.
You have to wade through to the lower reaches of the article to find an admission that the petrol station is likely to survive the EV revolution. Brian Madderson, chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), said: “These vehicles will simply not disappear off the roads overnight. Petrol and diesel stations will be essential in keeping the country mobile beyond 2030.”
The classic car industry is worth £7 billion. Think of the jobs, skills and tax revenue. An industry so important to the economy won’t be allowed to die. For this reason alone, the petrol station will live on for many decades to come.
As a PetrolBlog reader, you’re aware of this, but it’s important to tell your friends beyond the realms of the car world that it’s not the end of the road for petrol stations. The road ahead might have more twists and turns; you may have to travel a little further to reach your goal.
Yes, you’ll probably have to pay a little more to fuel your passion. But like I said in November, the horse lived on; and so will your car. There’s life in the petrol station yet.
Images courtesy of Sainsbury’s Archive.
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