Access to supermarket fuel 28 Nov 2012

Nine out of ten UK drivers within five miles of supermarket fuel

Analysis by the RAC Foundation shows that 87% of car-owning households in the UK are located within 5 miles of a supermarket petrol station.

However, that still leaves 2,255,866 car-owning households more than 5 miles from supermarket petrol.

Work by the Foundation shows that there are approximately 1,240 filling stations owned and operated by Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury and Morrisons across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

When the net is cast wider the study found that 97% of car-owning households are within 10 miles of supermarket fuel and 99% are within 15 miles.

The research is released as the latest petrol price war between supermarket fuel retailers continues. The full analysis shows that:

Access to supermarket fuel

Country

Number of car owning households

% of car-owning households within 5 miles of supermarket fuel

% of car-owning households within 10 miles of supermarket fuel

% of car-owning households within 15 miles of supermarket fuel

Absolute number of car owning households not within 5 miles of supermarket fuel

England

14,963,737

89.2%

98.3

99.7

1,616,084

Wales

895,384

77.9%

93.4

98.1

197,880

Scotland

1,441,824

80.1%

89.5

94.1

286,923

Northern Ireland

461,783

64.9%

82.5

95.2

162,086

UK

17,762,728

87.3%

96.9

99.1

2,255,866

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“Whatever your view on the competition between fuel retailers, this shows the vast majority of drivers are in reasonable reach of a supermarket forecourt. And given that most fuel retailers will cluster around centres of population there will be the chance to exercise some choice.

“But because we are talking about such big numbers of car-owning households there is still a significant amount of drivers who live in areas sparsely populated in terms of both people and services, and who therefore will have no real alternatives as to where they buy their fuel.

“We wait with interest to see what the current Office of Fair Trading call for evidence into the petrol and diesel sector concludes when it reports early in New Year.”

The research plotted ONS census data against information received from the four major supermarkets.

It excludes those forecourts with a supermarket branded shop but fuel sold under another supplier’s name – e.g. Tesco Express shops with Esso forecourts. Distances are ‘as the crow flies’.

ENDS

Contacts:

Philip Gomm – Philip.gomm@racfoundation.org | 020 7747 3445 | 020 7389 0601 (ISDN) | 07711 776448

Notes to editors:

The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation which explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users. The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist.

You may reproduce the map with appropriate acknowledgement.

Figure 1: Proximity to supermarket petrol stations by 5, 10 and 15 mile radii.

 

Contains data from gadm.org; ASDA, Morrisons, Sainsbury, Tesco; Ordnance Survey and National Statistics data © Crown copyright and database right 2012; Royal Mail data © Royal Mail copyright and database right 2012.

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