Motorists buying less fuel, less often, says report
The trends were revealed in the company’s annual Forecourt Report, which examines customer experiences while visiting fuel stations in the UK. It showed 70% of respondents had left refuelling until the warning light came on, while 24% said this was a monthly occurrence.
In the last year, one in 20 motorists had called a breakdown service because they had run out of fuel, most prevalent in the 16-24 year-old group where 19% had done so. Many drivers are also avoiding using their cars, with one in five saying they were planning to cut down on driving to save money.
This is accompanied by a more cautious approach to buying. One in six buyers said they leave refuelling as late as possible, but a quarter reported filling up with less fuel when they did. Half of those surveyed said they check prices at two stations before they buy, and a third check three sets of prices.
Consumers are also displeased with forecourts when they arrive, with unclean toilets cited as a bad point by 77% of respondents, and 56% saying prices of non-fuel goods is too high. Among the desirable additions 83% said they wanted Pay at Pump facilities, 74% want real-time traffic information displayed, and 78% said the experience would be improved by having parking spaces just for non-fuel customers.
Martyn Ward, commercial director of Palmer and Harvey, explained: ‘Like all consumers, motorists are becoming more sophisticated and expect the same quality of service from their petrol stations as they get on the high street. This is why a lot of savvy forecourts are looking at new technologies and additional services such as a Post Office or pharmacy. Along with getting the basics right such as competitive pricing, refurbished loos, and improved parking.’