What an aggressive lot those ’gilet jaunes’ are, turning Paris into a war zone last month with the worst riots in decades. Protesters clashed with police, looting stores and torching shops and cars, creating absolute chaos on some of the most iconic streets in the city. The reason? Rising fuel taxes. Welcome to our world or it would be if it wasn’t for organisations such as the Petrol Retailers Association, who try to educate and inform those in power without so much as lifting a match or sporting a yellow vest. What the French need is Le PRA!

It’s just as well they don’t have a problem with hand car washing. Once again the PRA, along with its sister organisation the Car Wash Association, has been instrumental in highlighting the problems in our car wash sector with the scourge of illegal hand car washes springing up in towns and cities across the UK. It’s taken many years of persuasion, and many traditional forecourt retailers giving up on the car wash business completely, but finally a new report into the hand car wash sector by a group of MPs (see News Extra, page 10), has shown the messages have finally sunk in. There’s the breaches of planning and environmental regulations and the widespread exploitation of workers through illegally low pay and poor working conditions. Hopefully the government will act on the recommendations indeed the car wash sector is already looking more positive (see our Focus On Car Washing, page 26).

Elsewhere big news of note is the announcement by Tesco and Volkswagen to develop the largest UK retail electric vehicle (EV) charging network. The plan is to roll out more than 2,400 EV charging bays across 600 Tesco stores within the next three years. Plus they won’t be charging for the normal 7kW charger motorists will have to stay in-store for a long time for a meaningful charge, probably spending more in store even if they’re not coughing up for the charger (rapid 50kW chargers will also be available for a "small cost"). Independents should consider their EV strategies so they don’t lose out to their local supermarket. Something to think about for 2019.

In the meantime, Merry Christmas!