The petrol station at Hampden, north of Moeraki on State Highway 1, has closed.
There are fuel stops at Herbert and Maheno about 10 and 14 kilometres further north so it’s not too much further for travellers, but how long will petrol stations stay in very small towns?
When I stopped for fuel at a small town petrol station yesterday the owner told me that if he hadn’t recently put in new tanks he’d have been tempted to stop selling petrol and diesel and stick to servicing vehicles because the margins on fuel were hardly worth the trouble.
I’m training myself to check the fuel gauge before leaving bigger towns on long journeys because it can be a long way to the next petrol station, especially outside business hours.
However, the training isn’t complete and I’ve been fortunate to find bowsers which enable you to pay by credit or Eftpos card which have saved me from running out of fuel late at night a couple of times.
Travellers not used to long distances between fuel stops could easily get caught short.
It’s also a problem is for people living in or near the small towns which no longer have fuel outlets. Some, particularly the elderly, do most of their driving within a relatively confined area of where they live and they’re forced to do a longer trip simply to refuel.