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Jet is celebrating its 70th anniversary in good shape, with fuel volume 7% higher than pre-Covid

Jet’s distinctive yellow and blue livery reflects a heritage that dates from the 1950s, but the retail arm of energy giant Phillips 66 is very much a modernising business, evolving its offering for motorists and dealers by adding sites, improving its fuel volumes per outlet, and introducing electric vehicle charging.

As it marks its 70th anniversary, it has begun to roll out its Jet Charge pay-as-you-go ultra-rapid electric vehicle charging offer to its dealer network, which is predominantly in the northeast of England, East Midlands, and Scotland, where it has recently been expanding its footprint, and with a handful of sites in London and the south.

Jet is celebrating its landmark year in robust shape. Fuel volume is 7% higher than it was before Covid, despite an industry-wide decline as a result of motorists working more days from home and the advance of EVs. In 2023, it also for the first time overtook Texaco in ’market effectiveness’ (Experian Catalist Market Summary Report, UK V4 2023), a measure of how energy companies are performing in terms of their volume of fuel divided by the number of sites. And while Shell, BP and Esso remain ahead in market effectiveness, Jet’s move up the ladder shows it is adding the right outlets to its portfolio, having gained 72 dealer and 11 company-owned forecourts in the past five years, and eyeing further growth with dealers who have “bigger, high-volume sites”.

“As Jet’s EV offer gains traction across the network, bigger properties have become more important to accommodate electric charging and the associated add-on services, from laundry to parcel lockers,” said Rupert Turner, managing director, UK marketing, Phillips 66. Jet says it will engage with retailers to establish suitable locations for Jet Charge, its own-brand charging proposition, aimed at making the motorist experience quick and easy with no app needed to use the equipment and no minimum payment.

“The process is as simple as presenting a bank card, plugging in, presenting the card again, unplugging and leaving. If you want to put £5 of charge in the car you can. There is a real sense of keeping it simple and available to everyone,” said Turner.

There are two dealer forecourts in the running to be the first to take the 150kW chargers later in the year – Brentford Filling Station in London and Starthill Service Station in Rochford in Essex, depending on planning and grid access.

And generally, Jet dealers in areas with the right demographics and location will most likely be given access, together with a fixed monthly fee. Jet will pay for the equipment for at least two cars to be charged simultaneously, as well as for the maintenance.

The business model, in which Jet will lease land from the forecourt landowner for the ultra-rapid chargepoints and charge the consumer directly for the electricity, may change over time. But the great benefit for the dealer in its current form is that Jet is taking all the risk in terms of charger usage.

“We always like to be open and honest with our dealers and if we think a site is not ready for EV, we will have that conversation. And we monitor the situation. What might not be appropriate now could be in 12 months’ time,” said Turner.

He says Jet has a good idea of where EV charging will work, having trialled 150kW units for two years at four of its 11 company-owned sites: its flagship Refinery Service Station in South Killingholme, North Lincolnshire, near its Humber refinery; Abbeyside Filling Station in Selby, North Yorkshire; Beacon Garage off the A1 on the outskirts of Catterick, North Yorkshire; and Newton Park Service Station at J59 of the A1(M) at Darlington. The two sites that have done particularly well are the rural Beacon Garage and Newton Park, a site with a truckstop in an industrial area. Both locations are near main arterial roads with plenty of transient traffic.


Jet will pay dealers a fixed monthly fee for its new ultra-rapid EV charging concept

Having company-owned sites to try out concepts before floating them to dealers is a big asset, says Turner. One example is with Jet Renewable Diesel, a lower carbon alternative to conventional fossil diesel, which Jet introduced into two of its company-owned locations in early 2022. Perhaps because of the price or lack of consumer awareness of the fuel, it has been slow to take off. “Because the product is inherently more expensive, people who are environmentally conscious and can afford it have already purchased an EV,” said Turner. However, the trial will continue. “We’ve had a couple of dealers who have approached us about stocking Jet Renewable Diesel,” he explained.

“Testing concepts at our own sites gives credibility for dealers,” added Turner.  Another instance where this has been advantageous is premium fuel. The business has been encouraging dealers to stock the four grades of fuel, and now almost a third of Jet’s dealers take them all. “If you stock all four it gives you a competitive edge, but if you have just three, you should absolutely make sure that all three are on each pump,” said Turner.

Oliver Mueller, Phillips 66 UK retail manager, says that company-owned outlets have proved a “good petri dish for ideas” in forecourt shops too. Slushee and F’real milkshakes have been performing particularly well in these sites. Different store locations also do well with certain coffee brands: Seattle’s Best, a stronger and less pricey label, said Mueller, performs strongly at its two truckstop sites, as does the Spar Daily Deli range of sweet pastries.

Jet is staying true to its reputation for running a tight ship. It is one reason it has no plans for a customer loyalty scheme. “We are saying no,” said Turner. “We don’t feel it would be cost effective for dealers.”

However, there are plenty of perks for dealers who want to be part of the growing network, said Turner, including access to the EdgePetrol pricing software, which helps dealers benchmark their fuel prices against competitors.


Rupert Turner (left) and Oliver Mueller: The Jet brand has a stand out maverick spirit

Jet is about to begin its 70th celebrations this summer. There is an updated logo to mark the occasion, and there will be plenty of platinum anniversary themed social media content including ‘memory lane’ stories from dealers, staff and customers.

From a dealer perspective, there is a lot of celebratory activity planned, from 70th themed merchandise, including tote bags and T-shirts, and customer giveaways, to interviews with Jet dealers that span the decades. The celebrations will also see the re-introduction of Jet’s ‘Wheel Spins’ customer interaction, in which a gameshow-style host in a velvet jacket at key Jet locations will invite drivers to spin a wheel to win a selection of prizes. It was first launched last September and was an immediate hit with customers and dealers, says the business.

Wheel Spin winner

Jet will re-introduce ‘Wheel Spins’ customer interaction, as part of this year’s 70th anniversary celebrations

From inviting the Greeters’ Guild Troy Hawke to engage with customers for a bit of fun at some of its sites, to the animated Wes Anderson style ‘Keep on moving’ television advertising campaign last year, with one advert featuring a stylish retro car self-driving with yellow balloons, Jet likes to be seen to do things differently.

“The Jet brand has lots of personality,” said Turner, “and a maverick spirit that helps us to standout – hopefully in all the right ways!”