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UK's Most Remote 'Petrol Black Spots' Revealed

Press release: 31/12/2010

New research from Britannia Rescue reveals that tourist destinations are amongst the furthest places away from a petrol pump. Loch Quoich in the Scottish Highlands is the most remote spot in Britain for motorists to run out of fuel, at approximately 26 miles from the nearest petrol station – equating to over eight hours of walking [1].

The other worst destinations for drivers to run out of petrol across the country include day-tripper spots Kielder Water in the North East, the hamlet of Blackpool Gate in the North West, Derwent Reservoir in the East Midlands and the Llyn Brianne Reservoir in Wales [2] - all of which are at least 12 miles away from the closest pump.

Furthermore some of England's most picturesque tourist counties are hotspots for breaking down due to the lack of petrol stations. Northumberland is the county in England with the fewest number of petrol pumps per square mile, followed by Herefordshire, Cumbria and Rutland.

However it's not just remote spots that are affected, as even Dungeness in Kent is eight miles from the closest petrol station.

According to the Britannia Rescue research, nearly 700,000 drivers have experienced a breakdown over the past six months as a direct result of driving on sparse petrol [3] , while four in ten motorists admit to 'running on empty' over the last few months without knowing the location of the nearest petrol pump. Over half of all breakdown call outs are as a result of driver fault and many of these for motorists who have run out of petrol [4].

With motorists facing a tough end to the year, more than one in ten (11%) admit they always run their car with as little petrol as possible. Sharply rising wholesale prices and plummeting temperatures increased petrol costs in December while January's increase in fuel duty and VAT is predicted to push petrol prices above 124p a litre.

As a result, in order to save cash nearly a third of drivers are using their cars less often, while close to a quarter (23%) are shopping around for the cheapest petrol available. A fifth (22%) of motorists even say they drive slower in an attempt to save on fuel.

But whilst it is now more costly to fill up at the pumps, regularly running a car on empty can potentially damage the engine – requiring repairs that will make a full tank of £50 petrol seem like a bargain.

Britannia Rescue is urging all motorists to make sure they have enough fuel for every journey – and to make sure they are covered in the event of a breakdown.

Peter Horton, managing director of Britannia Rescue said: "Times are really tough for drivers at the moment and the cost of filling up a tank of fuel is a significant cost to many. But while it may be tempting to scrimp on fuel, the reality of breaking down in a remote area is not pleasant and can be dangerous. We'd encourage drivers to ensure they always have breakdown cover before setting out on any route – especially if they're planning any trips through remote areas."

General information on Britannia Rescue can be found at

[1] Walking distance calculated at three miles per hour, according to Naismith's rule
[2] This list represents the most remote petrol black spots per government region, ordered by their distance from the nearest petrol station.
[3] Out of 34.7 million (according to the latest DFT) survey drivers in the United Kingdom, 2% or 694,000 have broken down as a result of running on empty.
[4] Britannia Rescue internal data


Britannia Rescue is the UK's fourth largest road rescue organisation and is part of the LV= group of companies. Britannia Rescue's network has over 3,000 breakdown professionals nationwide and average response time is under 40 minutes. The company has been awarded a Which? Best Buy and offers breakdown assistance throughout the UK and Europe. The company has just been named top provider of road rescue in the Auto Express Driver Power Survey for 2009.

LV= employs more than 4000 people, serves more than four million customers and members, and manages around £7.9bn (as at 30 September 2010) on their behalf. We are also the UK's largest friendly society (Association of Friendly Societies Yearbook 2006/2007, total net assets) and a leading mutual financial services provider.

About the research

Information about petrol 'black spots' and density of petrol stations by county was provided by PCP. The black spots were identified by plotting the location of petrol stations, using online resources, and then measuring the approximate distance by road to find the locations furthest from any currently open station. The top five black spots were identified for each UK standard region. This work was carried out between 22 October and 2 November 2010.

The information on petrol station numbers was provided by Experian Catalist. Their database was last updated in late October 2010. Density was calculated by dividing the number of petrol stations per UK county by the area of each county in square miles. This work was carried out between 8th November and 10th November 2010.

The table below shows the top 'black spot' per UK region:



Approx. distance in miles

Walking distance


Loch Quoich, road running West from the Loch, towards Loch Hourn


(8.7 hours walk)

North East

Kielder Water, near the village of Kielder


(6 hours)

North West

Blackpool Gate, near Nicholforest


(4.3 hours)

Northern Ireland

Tullycar Road, Near Killeter


(4.3 hours)

East Midlands

Derwent Reservoir, most Northerly point by road on the East side


(4 hours)


Llyn Brianne Reservoir (East side, just North of Ystradffin)


(4 hours)

Yorkshire & Humberside

High Birkwith


(3.3 hours)

South West

Dartmoor National Park between Postbridge and Two Bridges


(3 hours)

East of England

East Harling


(3 hours)

South East



(2.7 hours)

West Midlands



(2.7 hours)

All other research unless otherwise stated carried about by Opinium Research. The research was undertaken through an online poll of 2019 British Drivers from 5 – 8 November 2010. Results have been weighted to be nationally representative.