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DRIVERS could soon find it more difficult to refuel their vehicles if filling stations continue to close at the current rate.

According to figures released by oil industry body Catalist, 150 forecourts have already closed this year.

There are now less than 9500 forecourts in the UK, including supermarket filling stations. This is the lowest number since 1912.

The situation could become critical if the total number of forecourts continues to drop at the rate of recent years.

Ray Holloway, director of the Petrol Retailers Association, said: "Motorists are now noticing gaps in fuel availability, and if it gets worse as expected, they will certainly be inconvenienced when searching for a forecourt in some areas."

He said independent filling stations as well as oil company outlets, in both rural and urban locations, are forced out of business.

He explained: "Strong supermarket outlet growth since the 1990s, and the resulting squeeze on margin, has made motor fuel retailing a very unprofitable business."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 24, 2007
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