SEOUL, Feb. 23 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korean gas stations are on the brink of a financial crisis after being hit hard by COVID-19 last year.
The Korea National Oil Corporation and Korea Oil Station Association reported that 96 gas stations across the country closed down last year, double the number reported in 2019.
The number of gas stations from the four major oil refiners — SK Energy Co., GS Caltex Corp., S-Oil Corp. and Hyundai Oilbank Co. — has shrunk to less than 10,000 locations for the first time in 20 years.
Dwindling consumption of gasoline and diesel due to fewer cars on the road since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, along with the growing popularity of eco-friendly vehicles, has hurt the gas station industry.
The Korea Energy Economics Institute reported that the number of gas stations in the country is expected to decrease by more than 8,000 locations over the next 20 years.
In response, refiners are searching for a breakthrough that can replace the dwindling gas station industry.
For one, SK Energy began offering delivery services from gas stations.
Early this year, GS Caltex announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2021 that it would use gas stations as hubs for drone delivery.
Hyundai Oilbank joined hands with e-commerce giant Coupang Inc. to use available space at gas stations as logistics hubs for the company’s Rocket Delivery service.
S-Oil offers rental, parking, return, and recharging services for shared electric bicycles as well as their maintenance at gas stations.
Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)