Parts of Britain are in danger of becoming ’fuel deserts’ as the number of petrol stations hits a new low, new research from Palmer & Harvey has warned.

The Palmer and Harvey Forecourt Report reveals that while there are currently 31 million cars on the road, Britain has fewer than half the petrol stations it had 20 years ago, leading to many areas at risk of having nowhere for motorists to refuel or shop.

Petrol station numbers are down from 21,000 to fewer than 9,000 over the same period, and most of the top 10 fuel deserts are in southern English counties. Torridge, Devon has the lowest ratio of forecourts to cars with 11,300 cars sharing each forecourt. In comparison, Ceredigion on the Welsh coast has only 1,100 cars per site.

Chris Etherington, P&H’s chief executive, said: "Fuel deserts have been created due to a number of factors volatile fuel prices, an uncertain economy and unfavourable exchange rates, not to mention a changing retail landscape, fluctuating land prices and supply chain costs. These fuel deserts lead to massive inconvenience for the already hard-pressed motorist, and also to the loss of a focal point in communities."