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Eco-friendly cars could spell doom for Japan’s fuel retailers

Increased interest in eco-friendly cars could translate into the closure of around two-thirds of Japan’s 40,000 gasoline stations by 2010, the Asia News Network reports. One expert sees the rise in environmentally friendly vehicles as contributing to making some rural areas uninhabitable. In recent years, more than 2,000 filling stations have closed each year but this number appears to be ready to soar as more motorists are choosing green cars that run on less gasoline or none at all. The Federation of Petroleum Product Dealers Associations (Zensekiren) predicts that if half of all new car purchases are eco-friendly vehicles and if 20% of all cars are green vehicles in Fiscal 2020, then yearly demand for gasoline will plummet by 29% from Fiscal 2008, while light fuel oil demand will plunge by 15%. (March 18, 2010)