FILLING stations across Huddersfield are vanishing.
And many more small petrol stations are set to disappear over the next few years, it is claimed.
Nationally, filling stations are said to be closing at a rate of about 15 a week.
Bernard Stern, of Paddock- based retailer C J Stern (Oils) Ltd, said small traders were increasingly struggling to compete with larger operators and supermarkets.
And a combination of high costs, low profit margins and demand for land for other uses was persuading many smaller retailers to shut up shop.
Mr Stern said seven Huddersfield filling stations had closed in the past year.
These were at Birchencliffe, Marsh, Holmfirth, Armitage Bridge, Kirkburton, Newsome and Bradley.
Mr Stern said nationally many small filling stations on prime sites were being sold for redevelopment as housing, shops and restaurants.
Others were closing because of the cost of environmental measures such as installing petrol vapour recovery equipment.
Mr Stern said: "A trader who sells only a few thousand gallons of fuel a week may well decide that it is not worth it."
He said the wave of closures meant far less choice in the market place, but he did not foresee a day when only supermarkets sold fuel.
He said: "The ones that survive will be sites that are large and have a range of other facilities where they can make money on non-fuel products."
He said many petrol stations now had mini-supermarkets attached where they could attract footfall from local people.
Meanwhile, latest figures from motoring organisation the AA show petrol prices in Huddersfield have fallen over the past two weeks.
The average price of unleaded has fallen by about 1.6p to 73.97p a litre.
The average for diesel is down by 0.47p to 75.13p a litre.
The lowest price for unleaded in the town stands at 72.5p with diesel at 73.5p.
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