Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community
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Ray Blake: PRA technical director

How communication and technology have changed and keep changing never ceases to astound me. In the field of fuel dispensing into vehicles we first heard the term 'payment app' about five or six years ago. For the past couple of years, forums in which I participate have been trying to resolve the conflict of how to allow payment on the forecourt for fuel from a mobile device, while prohibiting the use of the same device while dispensing petrol. The guidance is now drafted to the effect that the mobile device can be used to make the payment while the customer is inside their vehicle, but it must not be used while they are dispensing.

Tracy West: retail commentator

With plastic currently 'pubic enemy number one' it was interesting to read about eco brand Ecover's recent pop-up Rubbish Cafe in London. If you wanted to go inside, you had to 'pay' with recyclable plastic rubbish but once inside, you could savour goodies from a zero-waste menu from eco chef Tom Hunt. The stunt coincided with the arrival of Ecover's new washing-up liquid range which now comes in 100% recycled and 100% recyclable bottles.

Merril Boulton: editor

Good to see hydrogen getting a bit of media coverage as a worthy contender for powering vehicles in the future. There has been such a powerful onslaught from those pushing the electric agenda that anyone would think the future of fuels has been decided, despite the many challenges and limitations of living with battery-powered vehicles.

James Lowman: ACS chief executive

We recently published our annual Crime Report, looking at the overall scale and impact of crimes committed against the convenience sector, covering everything from staff theft and fraud, to robberies and ram raids. The headline figures paint a stark picture with almost a million incidents of shop theft reported by retailers over the last year and the total cost of crime amounting to almost £200m, equating to a 7p crime tax on every transaction in the sector.

Charlotte Blum: analysis editor, Argus Media

Demand growth and a strong commitment by Opec and its partners to their continued production cuts have supported prices even as worries of a potential US-China trade war are casting a shadow over expectations of strong demand growth.

Kevin Eastwood: BOSS - executive director

Last month BOSS was able to report that crime on Britain's retail forecourts fell by 12.2% during the final quarter of 2017. Despite this success, crime on forecourts remains at an unacceptable level.

Merril Boulton: editor

Well wow what a deal! MFG and MRH coming together to create one big group (see News Extra, page 10). We had reported the rumours in Forecourt Trader, but generally in the industry few seemed overly invested in the idea that it would really happen.

Brian Madderson: PRA chairman

With almost the entire UK recently feeling the arctic effects of the 'Beast from the East' mingling with Storm Emma, my thoughts turned to all those drivers stuck for hours in their vehicles. Then my thoughts turned to Electric Vehicles (EVs), and I wondered just how long their batteries would last with the engine on, heaters at maximum, radio keeping the news updated. And, when they ran out of juice, how could they be quickly re-charged?

Charlotte Blum: analysis editor, Argus Media

The oil market is having trouble assessing how oil producers, especially in the US, are stepping into the breach left by Opec/non-Opec output cuts. Throw in expectations of higher demand, and you have a market where Brent first lost almost 10% of its value and then rose again by 5% in the past month. Fuel prices at UK retail stations have caught up with the downturn in crude markets in the first half of February, but not yet with the subsequent rise. Pump prices were not much changed on average in February from January, whereas Brent was lower by $3.35/bl or almost 5%.

David Charman: chairman Car Wash Association

Recently there have been several high-profile raids on unregulated hand car washes (HCW). In the largest, police raided hand car washes and 30 residential addresses in Milton Keynes. Officers found 36 "modern slaves", 13 people were arrested and large quantities of drugs were found. This confirms that government and the key agencies are following leads on human trafficking and slavery. However, the disappointing outcome was that at least two of these HCW were open again just days after being raided.

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 18 May 2020
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East Midlands112.21122.26106.78
North East110.8763.90125.50105.36
North West111.4965.90121.74106.55
Northern Ireland108.30111.90101.84
South East113.30122.65108.11
South West112.20120.84106.51
West Midlands112.13125.92106.81
Yorkshire & Humber111.7057.70123.12106.23

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