Summit 22 - Brian Madderson

Former PRA chairman Brian Madderson, came out of retirement specially to talk to delegates about the challenges facing fuel retailers as well as give them an update on the activities of the Car Wash Association.

Madderson started by saying that when he joined the PRA back in 2009, the UK was losing 3-400 petrol filling stations every year but gradually that number has slowed right down, so last year there was just a net loss of two filling stations – which is great news both for drivers and the industry.

He said latest stats showed that fuel volumes were at 89% of pre-pandemic levels but he wondered whether they would ever get back to those pre-Covid levels.

Other hot topics covered included fuel pricing, rising labour costs and, of course, the growth of EV charging in the industry.

Madderson said there were concerns at government level over whether the 2030 ban on the sale of new ICE vehicles was realistic. There was a worry that it could backfire because of problems such as electricity supply and the question of where HMRC was going to recoup the £35bn in lost fuel duty and VAT made from the sale of petrol and diesel.

In his role as a consultant for the Car Wash Association, Madderson rather provocatively told the audience: “If you have got £200k to invest and you want a quick return don’t go for electric charging, go for car washing.”

His comments came after he explained how work done by the Car Wash Association, coupled with the timing of the Covid pandemic, had led to the closure of many rogue hand car wash operations where employees were victims of modern slavery. As a result, many forecourt operators were investing in car washes. He then showed a slide with photos of recent installations of car wash equipment where operators were making a great return on their investments.