It promises to be a significantly more memorable festive season than usual what with the election, the political noise and ’who knows what’ will follow. UKPIA director general Stephen Marcos (see news page 3 and Forecourt Trader website) has called this election "one of the most important for generations", and how right he is. There is so much uncertainty - what will happen as regards our relationship with the EU, the economic policies of the new government and the increasingly prevailing issues about climate change?

Oil companies seem to have become a dirty word in certain parts, as people associate them with being ’big and polluting’. But as Valero’s sales and marketing director, Andrew Cox, said during a recent interview (see Supplier Insight, page 20): "Oil companies do a great job in improving people’s lives - just look at all the products that come out of a barrel of oil."

The UK is seemingly committed to an electric vehicle future - at least at government levels - but just how much realistic consideration has this been given? Has anyone in Parliament really given proper thought as to how they will replace the annual £35bn taken through fuel taxation (see PRA chairman Brian Madderson’s column on page 7)?

Then we learn from the APEA conference last month (see News Extra, page 10) that synthetic fuels are currently being developed that could greatly contribute to low-carbon transport by 2025 without the costly changes to infrastructure, not to mention the billions being invested by car manufacturers to build electric vehicles people aren’t quite ready to purchase. There are existing fuels such as LNG, GtL, CNG which could become part of the solution more quickly with the right encouragement.

Oil companies are likely to be key to future decarbonisation targets as they have the resources -both technical and financial - to develop new solutions, so it’s essential the sector should not be undermined. Let’s hope Stephen Marcos gets his manifesto wishes and we all get a government that can provide a clear and positive vision of the future.

Meanwhile, seasons greetings to you all!