Gordon Balmer PRA

The PRA is urging fuel retailers to join forces as they fall under the spotlight following ”unprecedented interest” in the sector by the government and media amid ongoing accusations of profiteering. 

Executive director Gordon Balmer said: “The Government and media, prompted by the RAC and the AA, are taking unprecedented interest into our sector. You will have seen the reports published by the Competition and Markets Authority, Government departments and opposition parties giving notice that they intend to establish a ‘fuel market monitor” soon.

”You will have also read the press releases from the AA and the RAC providing a running commentary on pump prices and fuel margins.”

Balmer said he has been very active at a Government level and in the media trying to educate and highlight the issues independent retailers face and to fight their corner. Challenges include rising costs such as energy, wages, and forecourt crime all at the same time as fuel sales - as revealed in the October figures from the Department of Energy and Net Zero - have fallen to 87 % of pre-pandemic volumes.

Currently the PRA claims to have the support of most independents both large and small, as the PRA is the only trade body speaking on their behalf. ”But there are still some companies who would benefit from our work yet are not members, and to help the sector it is vital that we have support from all forecourt operators,” he stressed.  

Balmer urged PRA members to galvanise others into joining: ”The PRA is a not-for-profit trade association, and we cannot continue to advance the interest of our members without their support for which we are most grateful.

”These are uncertain times and I would ask all companies to join: the more support we have the more credible we are and can act as a beacon of fact and common sense.”