Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community
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UKPIA: Christ Hunt

As I write this column the focus of our attention has been on the uncertainty about the future of the Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland.

Peter Harding - Retail technology consultant

Question. Where should the site manager/operator spend most of their time? Answer. In the shop, looking after customers and ensuring that stock levels are correct and that the store is well merchandised, promotions to the fore.

Merril Boulton: Leading by example

Firstly, many congratulations to all the finalists and winners at last month's glittering awards ceremony (full report starts on page 45). Particular praise goes, of course, to this year's Forecourt Trader of the Year winners, Zuber and Mohsin Issa of Euro Garages, who were too modest to come up on stage to collect their award as it was announced, but encouraged members of their much-valued staff to be recognised for their considerable achievements.

Kevin Eastwood - BOSS executive director

Criminals who operate on UK forecourts come in all shapes and sizes, from individual drive-off offenders to organised gangs who steal fuel in bulk. At BOSS we recognise the need to match these shapes and sizes to have a strong deterrent effect or, failing that, to identify, apprehend and bring offenders to justice. That's why we've developed strong partnerships, not only within the industry but across government, law enforcement and with specialist agencies whose expertise supports our drive to tackle forecourt crime.

Shop Talk with Tracy West

Sometimes it would be nice to know what the future holds. Whether the recession is well and truly behind us, for example, or even what the weather will actually do.

David Charman: chairman CWA

The summer has been kind to forecourt operators this year. Blasting sun and hot temperatures have meant that our sites have been a magnet for drinks, ice creams and BBQ necessities; but have the standards at our sites been enough to interest and keep customers interested in all aspects of our business?

Shop talk with Tracy west

I've been doing one of my favourite work things lately, which is going out and about visiting convenience retailers and I've seen some fantastic stores and brilliant products.

Surprising development

Well, what a pleasant surprise for a change. Just when the industry was going about its business and had given up expecting any kind of assistance in ensuring fair trading, up popped a European Commission inquiry into alleged oil-price fixing (see News Extra, page 10).

Brian Madderson: chairman PRA

In March 2012, Bloomberg reported that a commission appointed by the G20 nations' finance ministers called for stricter regulation of price-reporting agencies (now confusingly referred to as PRA by the media) to prevent the manipulation of oil markets. At that time, a consultation document published by the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) said: "There is a risk that a price-reporting agencies benchmark price can be manipulated by the submission of false prices or by over- or under-stating volumes transacted."

Chris Hunt: UKPIA director general

As I write this, our never-ending winter seems to be continuing, although some sections of the media have become excited because temperatures might approach the dizzy heights of 14oC!

Peter Harding - Retail technology consultant

Something that has been on my mind for some time, and is a fascinating new technology, is 3D printing. Yes, the ability to print items in 3D ie solid. This technology allows users to print a solid object from a CAD drawing. What? I hear you say. The ability to print an object is not only possible, but it's a reality. Printers have been available for some time, but let's not get carried away as the size and type of item that can be printed is limited. But the rate of growth and advancement is amazing.

David Charman: chairman CWA

This year has been a tough year for car washing. Unsettled weather and tough competition have meant the pressure is really on to capture wash business when the sun does shine. Our industry has been on the back foot for so many years that we have lost sight of the value of car washing. Machines have improved tremendously and the products we use for cleaning and polishing are vastly better than those of a decade ago. However, we have been so intent on trying to drive business by price alone that our average wash price has hardly moved. I truly believe that the only way we can survive and prosper is to retail our programmes for what they are excellent cleaning and polishing products.

Merril Boulton: Pricing deterrent

Having recently driven from the top to the bottom of France and back again, one of the main things I can vouch for apart from the beautiful weather! is the relatively low price of fuel.

Merril Boulton: Welcome relief

So lobbying does work or government U-turns on tax are right on trend at the moment! But the fact there will no longer be a fuel duty tax rise in August is a great relief to the industry and motorists alike. Plaudits must go to everyone involved in the campaign to cancel the proposed rise, in particular Brian Madderson, chairman of RMI Petrol (which has now gone back to its old name of Petrol Retailers' Association, by popular demand).

Merril Boulton: Happy birthday to us!

Welcome to our silver anniversary issue. Yes, unbelievably Forecourt Trader is 25 years old, and in celebration the team has pulled the stops out to create this bumper issue.

Merril Boulton: OFT brush-off

It wasn't quite the response he was looking for, but at least the Office of Fair Trading didn't completely slam the door in Brian Madderson's face when considering whether to conduct a market study into road fuel retailing (see News Extra).

Merril Boulton: Pricing woes

It was the perfect moment to make a submission to the Office of Fair Trading for an investigation into the UK fuels market. Diesel prices have hit record levels, crude prices are on their way up, refineries are faltering and putting pressure on supply; and independent fuel retailers are struggling to compete with the likes of Morrisons offering 15ppl discount.

  • Weekly
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Weekly Fuel Prices 17 April 2017
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East Midlands119.95131.24118.34
North East119.40130.73117.21
North West120.01128.97118.13
Northern Ireland119.1063.50117.39
South East121.0958.50129.83119.18
South West120.38128.30118.45
West Midlands120.3661.57130.37118.53
Yorkshire & Humber119.72129.97118.08

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With so much talk about plans for 'toxic charges' on the most polluting vehicles, do you think drivers of diesel-engined vehicles are being unfairly demonised?