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.

The ever-battling RMI Petrol chairman Brian Madderson seems to have spent most of his waking hours in the past couple of years gathering evidence of imbalances in the market to keep everyone at the OFT busy for a very long time. Hopefully they’ve been listening to his many media interviews and will read everything submitted very carefully. The OFT has 30 days to make up its mind. Let’s hope it’s a resounding yes. And let’s hope it’s a bit more fruitful than the 1998 investigation!

Meanwhile, life must go on. I suggest you come along to the Forecourt & Fuel

Equipment Exhibition at the NEC next month (March 25-27) to see what’s going on in the world of fuel and convenience retailing. It runs alongside the National Convenience Show as well as the Association of Convenience Store’s annual summit.

There will be numerous presentations across all the various events going on all day, but particularly on the Forecourt Live stand (Hall 8, Stand C01). At noon on the Monday and Tuesday we will be having a lively panel discussion covering the key issues of the day with great input from Mr Madderson himself followed by a VIP lunch on our stand (H19).

There will be companies with new ideas to offer, such as Greenergy, which will be launching its new Flexibrand package in a presentation entitled ’Future Fuel Supply and Brand Opportunities’.

Other presentations will include ’Contract pricing a Masterclass’; Unfair Car Wash Competition; and updates on taxation and rating issues. Please come along and meet the Forecourt Trader team. We look forward to seeing you there.