One of the last garages in Britain with a serving petrol pump attendant is to close after nearly a century – as supermarket prices and EU laws finally force it out of business.
Bentley’s Garage in Exmouth, Devon, opened in 1912 and for nearly one hundred years offered customers fuel as well as free oil, water and tyre checks.
Motorists are served by an attendant who fills the car with petrol or diesel – one of only a handful of non self-service garages left in the UK.
But current owner John Bentley, 46, said ”relentless” changes in the law means to stay open he would need to spend £25,000 on the pumps to update them
He says he now loses £4,000-a-year because of cheap supermarket petrol prices and it has become an ”economic necessity” to close.
Father-of-one John said: ”Much soul-searching has gone into this decision, but unfortunately it is no longer economically viable for us to continue.
”We would need to invest thousands in new pumps, storage tank lining and new electrical circuits to comply with the latest legislation.
”The pumps are old and obsolete and we are making a huge loss and can’t keep up with legislation.
”Supermarket prices are so cheap we can’t compete. Our volume of sales makes it impossible to justify. It’s heartbreaking.”
The garage, which was purpose built in 1912 for the Langdon family, was sold to the Bentleys 17 years ago.
John said the pumps will be filled with foam at the end of the month and taken away but the rest of the garage will remain open.
He said: ”We have been very busy on the pumps in the last few days. Some darling old ladies know we are closing and have come to get their petrol.
”I would like to thank all our customers for their support and we will continue to offer free oil, water and tyre checks whenever they need it.”