My local Jet garage is switching to Esso fuel. I asked a member of staff whether that meant prices would go up and he said ’no’ and if anything they’d be cheaper. I asked him the reason for the switch and he said they needed to drum up more trade (there is new competition in the area) and Esso, with its link to the Tesco Clubcard, was expected to be a crowd pleaser. We’ll have to wait and see. But all this got me thinking about the power of the fuel brand.
A very inexact, non-scientific survey (done by me) found that lots of people avoid supermarket-branded fuel (particularly Tesco) thinking it is not as good as a big brand. Some even think Sainsbury’s fuel is better than Tesco’s. I must say I do question supermarket fuel’s quality even though experts say all diesel and petrol has to meet certain standards and so should be no different quality-wise.
Mr West is not keen on Jet ever since he had trouble with his van one winter. He rang the dealership to query the problem and they immediately said it could be the fuel and asked him if he got it from our local Jet garage which he did. He since boycotts them during the winter months.
A lot of people like BP but many think it’s expensive. A colleague of mine prefers BP and says that if he’s feeling flush he’ll put the better grade of petrol in his beloved Audi.
We’ve also got an Applegreen site where I live but it’s unbranded. It took over what was historically the cheapest forecourt in town and has maintained the low prices. It’s not that easy to get to it’s on a ring road so you can only get to it if you are going in one particular direction. Again Mr West won’t use this. Firstly because it’s tricky to get to but secondly because he says it’s too cheap!
I used to like Esso but mainly because of the link to the Tiger. I say ’used to’ because we haven’t had one locally... but will soon.
Regarding that aforementioned switch from Jet to Esso, I am not sure whether it will lead to extra sales as there’s been a lot of bad press about loyalty cards recently. On some you don’t get as many points as you used to and Tesco has had to delay changes to its rewards systems after complaints. Perhaps loyalty cards have had their day?