A village in Dordogne has come up with an innovative solution to an age-old rural problem, by opening its own petrol station.
The 800-strong population of Saint-Saud Lacoussière, which is situated in the Périgord-Limousin nature park, saw their local petrol station close last December.
Since then, they have had to travel around 30km – each way – to the nearest pumps to fill their cars.
Despite having a valid reason to ask the national or local government to intervene, residents of the village decided to go private, raising most of the money themselves before obtaining a bank loan for the rest.
After around six months of work, the petrol station opened earlier this month, and is even turning a profit, and already seems like a wise investment for the village – as well as a practical one.
Ten days to raise funds
After the nearest petrol station closed down, residents could have asked for state or regional government help.
Wanting to bypass the potential red tape, the residents decided to fix the issue themselves by opening their own station.
In only ten days, 35 residents raised around €170,000 of the €280,000 needed before acquiring the rest with a bank loan.
These 35 are now shareholders in the venture, which opened its doors on July 8.
The petrol station is simple, offering only fuel, but is open 24 hours.
Although it sells petrol at a slightly higher price than supermarkets and other petrol garages, the station is not only breaking even but earning the shareholders a profit.
Currently, around 2,000 litres of petrol per day is sold by the station, with only 1,000 needing to be sold to keep afloat.
Some of this is due to local tourists travelling through the region on summer holidays, but the owners are not overly concerned with making money from the venture – just having a place to fill up their cars.