It’s been a long time since there was such a universal outpouring of venom among retailers about any oil company as there is currently against BP. Retailers nationwide are spitting feathers. And who can blame them? One minute they’re scrolling through the usual morning emails, 101 things going on in their mind as usual as they face the constant challenges of maintaining a successful business. Then - wham! - out of the blue, comes the email from BP, their ’partner’ in business, with news that will make a significant dent in their anorexic fuel margin, and knock many thousands of pounds from their bottom line. All this to take place within a month - and, just to rub salt into the wounds, it comes as BP announces record profits.

OK, the fuel premia increase is allowed, it’s in the contract - unbelievably. That’s bad enough. But what is the point of setting up consultation procedures, forums and other elaborate lines of communication, if, when there really is something of significance to talk about - money - these are completely ignored? BP says it would be ’unethical’ to disuss commercial arrangements in open forums. Well it’s going to have to now, in a less than amicable atmosphere I would suggest... People have said it’s entirely out of character for BP to behave in this way, and that it could lose valuable business. What a careless waste of a good reputation.