One of the unintended consequences of ever higher fuel duty (it will rise to 60.97ppl on August 1) is that small-to-middle size independent retailers struggle with cash flow problems. Higher wholesale fuel costs, bankrolling Treasury by paying duty ahead of collecting this tax from customers, and wafer-thin average margins do not encourage banks to extend overdraft facilities when money is so tight. The result across the UK has been for retailers to keep forecourt stocks at bottom stop.

However, one of the unexpected plus factors emerging from the panic-buying spree has been the quality and availability of data provided by Background2 (see last month’s issue of Forecourt Trader) on fuel demand trends and run-outs on a 24-hour basis.

As a result, RMI and Background2 are linking to provide a FREE polling service to our members with immediate effect.

Sign up for the service by visiting:

To use the service, a station must have a broadband internet connection and be willing to allow Background2 to install the data polling application on the back-office computer. The polling application works with all modern POS systems and takes just five minutes to install.

This unique data will be of great value to independents as aggregated fuel volumes can be analysed on a weekly and monthly basis to provide demand trends including by type of site, by brand of fuel, by region and by fuel grade.

Each RMI Petrol member will get a better understanding of their own trading position in comparison to overall market positions. Sign up now to participate or enquire further through the RMI Helpline on tel: 08458.399205 and

Although the OFT has provisionally decided that the RMI Petrol Retailer’s submission does not warrant a full scale Market Study as requested under the Enterprise Act 2002, we will still provide further evidence and call for re-consideration. While this particular door may be closing, we believe that the serious energy resilience issue may lead to an even more productive government door being opened in the near future. We now have formal assurance that the views of independent retailers will be sought.