Service station network enables road traffic
In Finland, there are almost 2,000 service stations and 700 heavy traffic fuel distribution outlets that form an important energy distribution network by the side of the roads. It enables the operation of vehicle traffic and freight traffic every day of the year, around the clock.
In the past decades, fuel distribution has evolved into an efficient system that is continuously being developed by operators in the industry. Besides services stations and unmanned stations that are available to everyone, there are also distribution outlets designed especially for heavy traffic; some of them operate in connection with service stations and some as individual distribution outlets.
When you refuel, you are also using biofuels
Currently, everyone refuelling their vehicle is also always refuelling biofuel, as all traffic fuels being distributed contain a varying degree of biocomponents.
It only takes a couple of minutes to refuel, and with the current energy-efficient vehicles, you can travel hundreds or even a thousand kilometres in regular conditions with a full tank.
Service stations are changing according to needs
Service station operation is adjusting to the changes of today like all other business operations. Over the years, the supply of service stations has become more versatile as service stations have developed to meet the variable needs of society and customers.
Currently, the range of service stations varies from unmanned stations to large service station complexes. In Finland, unmanned stations were adopted in the early 1990s, and their number has increased ever since.
Cafés, stores, car wash service
In addition to selling fuel, many service stations currently have many other functions, such as café and restaurant services, grocery stores and various service points. When the government proposal passed in December 2015 on the deregulation of shops' opening hours enters into force, the remaining restrictions on the range of goods sold at service stations will be removed.
At many service stations, a car wash service is an important part of operation. From the environmental point of view, it is recommended to have a car washed at a service station as only approved detergents are used in a professional wash, and service stations take care of processing sewage according to regulations.
Car maintenance is also still available at many service stations although maintenance operation has been transferred, to a large extent, to car dealerships and other maintenance companies as the more complicated technique of vehicles requires special know-how. At the same time, the maintenance intervals of vehicles have become longer.
From a nationwide perspective, the service station network also functions as an important employer that offers a locally variable number of different kinds of employment opportunities, both long-term and short-term.
Service stations statistics
According to statistics compiled by the Finnish Petroleum and Biofuels Association, there were a total of 1 857 service stations and unmanned filling stations in Finland in late 2016. Service stations with personnel on site numbered 792, and there were 1 065 unmanned filling stations.
Statistics on the fuel distribution points for heavy traffic are compiled separately. At the end of 2016 there were 665 of these. Some of the diesel fuelling locations for heavy vehicles are located in connection with regular filling stations, and others are separate distribution points.
The Finnish Petroleum and Biofuels Association has collected the information for its filling station statistics through its member companies from the Neste, the ABC chain, St1 and Shell, as well as Teboil networks. Also included in the statistics are information from Suomalainen Energiaosuuskunta SEO.