ASSESSING THE SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION AND LOCATIONAL IMPACT OF PETROL SERVICE STATIONS
1.1 Background of study
The technological initiative of man towards the development of automobile and the discovery of petroleum triggered the building of petrol service stations at strategic locations to meet the demand of vehicle owners (Abdul et al., 2009). In recent times, there has been a sustained increase in the number of petrol stations established in different parts of the country. The reasons for such unprecedented increase are not farfetched: First, the growing number of people in the country and the attendant increase in the purchase of vehicles. Secondly, the attractive price of petrol both at control price and black market prices which made more people to go into the petrol retailing business (Uchegbu, 2002).
In view of this development, many marketers take advantage of this need and build service stations haphazardly without giving consideration to the possible effect of the locations of the stations. It has now generally been recognized that economic development can be a major contributing factor to growing environmental problems particularly when such development is not sustainable. A greatly improved understanding of natural resource base and mostly environmental systems that support national economies is needed if patterns of development that are sustainable can be determined and recommended to government.
Petroleum, (crude oil) naturally is composed of various organic chemicals found in large quantities below the surface of the earth and is used as fuel and as raw material in the chemical industry. Modern (industrial) society uses it primarily to achieve mobility. In addition, petroleum and its derivatives are used in the manufacture of medicine and fertilizers, plastics, building materials, paints, and cloths and to generate electricity. In fact modern industrialization depends on petroleum and its products; the physical structure and way of life of the urban centres are the result of an ample and inexpensive supply of petroleum. In short, the goals of developing countries are based on the assumption of petroleum availability.
Petrol Stations, serve as outlets for retailing petroleum resources such as gas, fuel, kerosene etc., which are highly inflammable, therefore need to be located appropriately in relation to other activities so as to avoid its consequent impact on the immediate environment. The environmental impacts of the locations of petrol stations are therefore not negligible and may not be ascertained unless an Impact analysis is carried out.