David Charman: chairman CWA
Our industry has once again moved into a whole new era, with Tesco taking ownership of Booker and its forecourt brands and the demonisation of diesel as a road fuel.
I'm not sure if I would be delighted or worried if I were a Booker-supplied brand. Will the buying power of Britain's biggest supermarket be reflected in overall margins or will they seek an ever increasing return on their huge investment? Will the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) allow it to happen at all? If it does, what does it mean for the current Booker brands and other convenience store brands in the UK? It will be fascinating to see the shakedown.
We now sell 64% of our fuel turnover through our diesel nozzles. Never has a product seen such a turnaround of fortune. The 'Dieselisation' of our forecourts has taken about 20 years to complete, and may be destroyed in just 10. Such is the concern for health, it seems every month another city wants to ban these polluters completely from their streets. Old and brand new cars, vans and lorries are caught in the crossfire as one evil combustion system. Can it really be that my one-year-old diesel saloon with particulate filters and AdBlue injection is so bad? Travelling 700 miles on a tank while achieving 45 mpg, is an achievement current petrol models can only dream of.
Our government will inevitably load extra taxes on the Derv, costing consumers more and more in the near future. But what will it mean for the sites that remain redundant nozzles and tanks on forecourts, or extra grades of petrol with varying levels of ethanol? What about our refineries that were initially built to produce petrol not diesel, will that make us more self-sufficient as a country? I think the demise of diesel will be the catalyst for a swifter transition to electric and petrol/electric engines.
The paradox to all this is, of course, the huge shift towards home shopping with our goods delivered to our homes, which involves vans almost entirely powered by Derv.
Parkfoot has been a member of the PRA for over 30 years. During that time there have been many major challenges affecting us that they have championed on our behalf. It's extremely important to remember the support this organisation has delivered. Don't shun it we may need it more than ever as sites transform over to the electric generation.
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