The gas station of the future in the year 2040

One thing is already clear today: In two decades, after all the trickery of the car industry, we will not drive to the gas station anymore and order “once diesel, please”. In about 20 years, the mobility trends of today – such as electrification and automation – have long been part of everyday life.

How the industry responds to this and what customers expect, the Institute for Transport Research of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) on behalf of the Aral Group has determined over eight months. The result is a comprehensive study, which was recently presented in Berlin and provides interesting insights on the “Gas Station 2040 as a hub of mobility”.

The key question: How will driving performance, vehicle fleets and their types of propulsion and mobility behavior in Germany change by 2040 – and what role will petrol stations play in the future?

Electric car 2040 gas station
The boom in electric cars is unstoppable (Graphic: DLR)

According to DLR, Germans will cover 900 billion kilometers each year in 2040 with cars and commercial vehicles. Despite a decreasing population, traffic is growing. The probably decisive result of the study: Conventional and alternative fuels will still be in parallel demand in 2040, but the gas station of the future will be a meeting place for the nine mobility requirements.


The traditional fuel dispensers for cars and trucks no longer dominate alone. In 2040, autonomous fleets will be serviced at the filling station, battery changing stations for e-bikes and e-scooters will be offered – and the landing site for airline taxis will be on the roof. In addition to the (inevitable) car wash and engine wash, there is a significantly expanded range of shops that will be even more geared to on-the-go consumption and integrate new “flexible and needs-based shopping opportunities”. In the bistro customers can comfortably wait for pool vehicles. Petrol stations, according to the authors with autonomous vehicles, offer “home delivery”. Even packages from Amazon, Zalando & Co., we will then no longer be delivered itself, but pick up – especially in the big cities – at the gas station.

The shopping offer also needs to expand: Aral, part of the BP Group, is already cooperating with the REWE Group by the end of the year. At 550 expanded locations, the company will offer a “REWE to go”.

But the study also sees major differences between big city, country, highway and city-shaped circles for 2040.

Aral Study Mobility Trends 2040 Population Forecasting
By 2040, the population drops significantly, but the traffic volume is still growing (Graphic: DLR)

The authors of the study explain in detail:

“Professional journeys by taxi companies, craftsmen or nursing services in Germany will increase by around 50 percent in each case (2040: around 105 billion kilometers).” Commercial vehicles will even double their mileage by 2040 (around 200 billion kilometers).

Although passenger traffic is increasing less, routes such as the supermarket, sports club or workplace still account for the largest share in 20 years (around 591 billion kilometers).

The private car is used especially in rural areas. Residents there tend to travel more distances due to the limited infrastructure.

Unlike in the big city, in which a variety of mobility offers your own car stops more often. In 2040, autonomous vehicles will be driving there, which will already account for 25 percent of the total fleet. “

What does this mean for the gas station 2040 in the city?

In the big cities, the study sees the core business. Naturally, the new mobility trends are the fastest to prevail here. Petrol stations become a mobility center – with e-bikes, autonomous sharing and pooling vehicles and air taxis. Even meeting rooms for business travelers are conceivable. Gas stations of the future will be multi-storey, to take into account the lack of space in urban areas.

You might also be interested in this: New mobility in Germany – an overview

Gas station 2040 Highway 300Dpi
The filling stations on highways serve all parallel autonomous and driver-controlled commercial vehicles (Graphic: DLR)

And what does the gas station 2040 look like on motorways?

By 2040, the authors of the study expect automated pre-defined highway routes for freight and long-distance traffic. This shift between autonomous and driver-driven vehicles also provides ultra-fast charging stations due to the time pressure on drivers and businesses. Truck drivers will no longer have to spend the night in their own vehicles in 2040. Trucker Cubes will offer functional nights and extended gastronomy offerings.

What are the consequences for urban and rural districts?

The outskirts of the cities will attract more and more commuters due to rising rents in the urban centers. In urban areas, petrol stations could establish themselves as “entry gates” for these commuters. To avoid traffic jams, the last mile to the destination should then be done via air taxi.

In rural areas, your own car is still required. As the infrastructure is getting smaller, 2040 gas stations are “a social meeting place” for passenger and freight traffic. The fact that gas stations in rural areas establish themselves as a meeting point for the rural population is already apparent today, for example in Brandenburg.

Gas Station 2040 Laid-Ended Circle 300Dpi
In the country: The gas station as a social meeting place (Graphic: DLR)

Aral, which currently operates around 2400 filling stations in Germany and is market leader in this country, sees itself prepared for the future on the basis of the study. The growing traffic and the new mobility trends are changing the classic business model (just refuel and take a Snickers), but they also offer very good opportunities for increasing sales.

So, to put it in Aral’s advertising slogan, “Everything’s great”. 2040 then hopefully for our environment …

You might also be interested in this: Software, networking, autonomous driving – VW is fighting for specialists

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