Important to stay braced and focused on the positive when opening the sizeable tome that is the government’s newly published ’Road to Zero’ strategy (see News Extra, page 10). Perhaps read it in small chunks with a nice glass of something so that you don’t blow too many gaskets in the same sitting.
Maybe a couple of glasses will be required when you come to the part about certain mayors being able to apply to the Transport Secretary to wield their powers over ’large petrol retailers’ in their area. Especially considering the phrase ’large petrol retailers’ is thus far undefined fuel volume?; physical size of forecourt?; size of ownership group? The Automated and Electric Vehicles Act will also apparently give the Transport Secretary powers over ’large forecourts’ not just to force the installation of electric charging and maybe even hydrogen refuelling facilities, but also what times these will be available for customer use. What a cheek!
Of course all of this could seem very reasonable with the appropriate amount of remuneration involved to encourage compliance. But there’s no specific news on the money front yet.
But for what it’s worth, try not to think of the Road to Zero as the road to ’zero’ customers, or ’zero’ business! There’s plenty of positive stuff being aired at conferences (see Industry Insight, page 23), roundtable discussions (see Retail Insight, page 20) and the like, about how well placed the UK forecourt network is to deal with the changing shape of convenience retailing. ’Follow the customer’ seems to be the message that is the customer who needs more refuelling stops than a car; doesn’t even want to get out of the car or house, or cinema or indeed put much effort at all into their shopping requirements if it takes them away from their smartphone or other more pleasurable activities (and maybe not even those, according to a recent sex survey!) for one millisecond. So it makes sense to embrace modern technology, and talk to them while they’re down there, so to speak. And when they do finally make that trip to your ’sparkling, wow-experience and user-friendly, multi-facilitied site, they’ll be glad they came even if it is on foot!