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Tracy West: retail commentator

The first of the Bank Holidays hits later this month with Good Friday on March 30, followed closely by Easter Monday on April 2. The true meaning of Easter may have been forgotten by most people, but it still resonates with many thanks to those extra days off work for most, if not all, people.

Merril Boulton: editor

Out and about in the petrol retailing world and it's not long before the conversation turns to electric vehicle charging. It's clearly top of mind for the sector, although no one is completely sure what to do about it. Some retailers are boldly leasing off car parking spaces to charging equipment suppliers for 15 years, as they gain a foothold in the market, as well as an income. Decision made they've future-proofed their business. Many are more wary of such a commitment that could complicate matters in the future should they want to sell their sites. Others are hanging back to see what happens. In a world of fast-moving technological developments, when is the right time to invest? How soon will any charging equipment become slow and outdated? It's the same for motorists, and when you look at the sales figures (News Extra, page 10), despite all the noise, claims of electric vehicle sales reaching a 'tipping point' are rather far fetched.

Stephen Marcos Jones: director general, UKPIA

This year signals another gear-shift in the energy transition to a lower-carbon economy. Spearheaded by COP 21, governments around the globe are setting far-reaching ambitions to fundamentally re-stitch the tapestry of the energy industry, society and the natural environment. Parts of the energy sector have translated this into opportunity, while others may see Damocles' sword hanging precariously above them.

Charlotte Blum: analysis editor, Argus Media

Oil prices are at their highest for three years. Global economic growth is especially supporting middle distillate prices, keeping diesel well above petrol at UK retail stations.

Ray Blake: PRA technical director

The PRA technical team is receiving a number of enquiries about when they must notify their Petroleum Enforcing Authority (PEA) of changes they wish to make to their fuel storage and dispensing arrangements.

Tracy West: retail commentator

My local Jet garage is switching to Esso fuel. I asked a member of staff whether that meant prices would go up and he said 'no' and if anything they'd be cheaper. I asked him the reason for the switch and he said they needed to drum up more trade (there is new competition in the area) and Esso, with its link to the Tesco Clubcard, was expected to be a crowd pleaser. We'll have to wait and see. But all this got me thinking about the power of the fuel brand.

Merril Boulton: editor

If the start of 2018 is anything to go by, it's going to be another lively year in the forecourt sector. I guess we've got somewhat used to the bigger fishes in the pond buying the smaller ones, and to this end we saw MFG adding to its numbers with 14 sites from the Golden Cross Group; and also Harvest Energy buying Retail Fuels Ltd and gaining nine sites. With prices so high is there a peak in sight? Who can blame retailers for selling up while the going is good, even though it might not have been in their original plans (see Focus on Property, page 32)? But with all these great companies and characters disappearing from our Top 50 Indies listing, where can a big acquisitive group go next? Ah yes, make a play for one that's even bigger as in MFG, reported to be weighing up a bid for MRH.

James Lowman: chief executive, ACS

You may have seen and heard ACS in the media over Christmas talking about some changes to the way the police, courts and government are responding to shop theft. There are a couple of separate issues at play here.

Charlotte Blum: analysis editor, Argus

Brent crude and wholesale gasoil prices ended 2017 at their highest since May 2015. UK drivers are paying more for diesel than they have in three years, with petrol not far behind. Falling crude stocks in the US were the immediate reason for the Brent price rising past $66.50/bl at the start of January, and several days of protests in Iran are adding a geopolitical risk premium, although output has not been affected.

Kevin Eastwood: BOSS

Kevin Eastwood

BOSS Executive Director

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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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