By Daniel Hunter

The chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association has suggested that independent petrol stations are turning into convenience stores.

Brian Madderson, the chairman of the body which represents smaller, independent petrol stations, said: "We'd rather sell a cup of Costa coffee than a litre of petrol."

He said fuel taxes are resulting in stations having to become convenience stores which sell petrol on the side, in order to make a good profit.

Mr Madderson said that recent falls in oil prices will only have a limited impact on pumps.

Supermarkets last week dropped petrol stations by as much as 5p per litre as oil prices continued to fall.

Oil prices have been on a steady downward spiral for a number of months. But over the last week, Brent crude oil has hit fresh four-year lows. Yesterday, it hit a new four-year low after falling below $88 per barrel.

The main reason behind the falling price is continued supply, but nowhere near enough demand. But the Saudi Arabian oil companies have insisted that they won't reduce production.

The current state of oil prices is particularly strange considering the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. Prices usually rocket up when tensions and conflicts flare in the region, but despite the rising awareness of Islamic State and its campaign in Iraq and Syria, oil prices are falling.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) believes oil prices could fall below $80 per barrel as the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) continues production.

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