Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community
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Stephen Marcos Jones: director general, UKPIA

Hardly a day goes by without a newspaper headline telling us about the next big thing in the world of transport. Artificial Intelligence. Driverless cars. Real-time data sharing with other road users. Deliveries bringing fuel direct to your home or business. Low-carbon fuels, both liquid and non-liquid, hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon.

Kevin Eastwood: executive director - BOSS

When it comes to non-payment on forecourts, experience tells us that some motorists do make genuine mistakes and it's important to respect customers inadvertently caught in a difficult situation. These can be rectified if accurate information is collected by retailers so that repayments can be made within a reasonable timeframe. This said, we must then turn to those motorists who deliberately seek to evade payment.

Tracy West: retail commentator

The 'bah humbug' brigade, typically active at Christmas time, are now out for Easter. Pre-Easter stories in the mainstream media are usually about how over-priced Easter eggs are when you compare their chocolate content to bars that are available all-year-round. In the past there has also been chuntering about packaging but many manufacturers have done away with the plastic part of their packaging. Today though, the anti-Easter (or rather Easter egg) stories emanate from research commissioned by the RSPH. If, like me, you'd never heard of them, they are the Royal Society for Public Health an independent, multi-disciplinary charity dedicated to the improvement of the public's health and wellbeing.

Chris Judge: analysis editor, Argus Media

The steady gains for crude oil in 2018 continued through March and UK motorists are now feeling the pinch at the pump, as Opec maintained solid discipline containing output. Benchmark Brent crude oil futures ended March at $68.39/bl, gaining $2.36/bl on the month and are now up by nearly $15/bl in 2019. Retail diesel and petrol prices have risen sharply in March, up by more than 1.5/ppl after failing to keep pace with crude rises for most of the year.

James Lowman: chief executive, ACS

We've just launched our 2019 Crime Report, and it's another shocking insight into the extent and frequency of crime against our sector. Let's start with the financial impact: crimes committed against the convenience sector cost an estimated £246m over the past year, equivalent to over £5,300 for every store in the UK, or what amounts to a 7p 'tax' on every single transaction.

Merril Boulton: editor

Beneath all the excruciating political noise and in spite of it life goes on. And forecourts are in the fortunate position of being an essential part of that daily life. People still need to get to work, they need to refuel, buy breakfast, coffee, lunch, a few groceries and everything else in between. And whatever happens with the whole Europe thing, that will still be the case.

Tracy West: retail commentator

If thousands of your customers were asked to rate your store for things like appearance, queuing time, range of products and value for money, how do you think you'd do?

Alexander Russell: consultant, Car Wash Association (CWA)

Continued pressure by the Car Wash Association (CWA), together with support from MPs, was responsible for finally getting the issue of rogue hand car washes (HCWs) onto Parliament's agenda via the Environmental Audit Committee's (EAC) June 2018 hearings. It was rewarding that the EAC's remit, the context in which they set the issues and the questions that were raised, were all so closely aligned with the CWA's principal concerns. In addition to widespread pollution by up to 20,000 HCWs, these included Modern Slavery, tax evasion, employment and health and safety abuses, money laundering and drug dealing.

Chris Judge: analysis editor, Argus Media

Oil prices continued to rise as it became clear that the US was not securing a quick win to force President Nicolas Maduro from power in Venezuela, prolonging sanctions on the country's oil exports.

Merril Boulton: editor

So it's already March and at the end of this month, who knows what will have happened re what's become the dreaded Brexit situation. But one thing is for certain, and that is the success of the Top 50 Indies, which is clear to see in our latest report published in February (see News Extra, page 10). It sums up another intriguing year, in which, following an impressive run of 13 years at the top for MRH, there is a new number one MFG which, with an incredible 925 sites is twice the size of the next group on the list the EG Group.

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 20 January 2020
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East Midlands132.93141.67128.44
North East131.55139.57126.67
North West132.1066.90140.54127.58
Northern Ireland129.82134.61125.46
South East133.80141.93129.03
South West132.9567.90139.13128.12
West Midlands132.7866.57142.07128.26
Yorkshire & Humber131.9963.90141.14127.34

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As Brexit day finally arrives at the end of January, are you expecting any negative impact on your forecourt business through leaving the EU?

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