This summer, Olin Penzin and Storkosk in Windafjord municipality closed their doors. The inhabited petrol station has been converted into an automated station.
– We worked hard to get results. But with the increasing costs and the sales volume not being big enough, we had to make this choice. Very sad, especially for the staff who’ve been with us for up to 20 years, says owner and manager Anne-Lise Schorsecki.
Sjurseike is not alone. Figures from industry organization Drivkraft Norge show that the number of occupied petrol stations has halved, from 2,000 in 1999 to 1,000 in 2021.
The organization currently does not have updated numbers for 2022.
At the same time, the number of automatic stations increased by 500 in the same period to 713. For large chains and gas station owners, it is a matter of knowing which mode of operation is profitable.
– Specialist Manager Kjartan Berland at Drivkraft Norge explains where it is feasible and profitable to have a working station, versus unoccupied stations.
I think shipping is the solution, not the problem
Although Sjurseike had to close the station in Ølen, the Knapphus petrol station continued to operate. With great faith in the future.
When margins go down, volume has to go up. Therefore, we must be ready to renew ourselves and invest. Read the market and understand what the customer wants. Sjurseike says getting electric vehicles to charge is important to attracting customers to us.
Figures from Statistics Norway show a steady decline in petrol and diesel sales in recent years. At the same time, sales of electric cars took off.
Drivecraft Norig rejects that selling electric cars and other electric vehicles poses a threat to manned petrol stations.
– Naturally, the station has a wide range of electric charging, gasoline, diesel, hydrogen and industrial fuels. Shipping is a natural part of supply, Berland says, so this isn’t a threat.
In addition to charging, Anne Lise Sjurseike believes that the location of the petrol station is important. The Knabhaus gas station is located at an important junction along the E 134 motorway, which makes Sjurseike optimistic.
– In Denmark, the long-standing trend has been to close populated stations in cities, while large petrol stations are located along the main arteries of the country. And you anticipate that this trend will probably come to us as well.
For some communities, it is likely that manned gas stations will disappear, being replaced by automated ones.
There are combined solutions to look at here. The ability to save fuel is across the Norwegian market, says Kjartan Berland, with good solutions for local communities, consumers and industry.
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