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Merril Boulton: editor

Great to see that Shell is raising the bar on forecourt food with its launch of the Jamie Oliver deli by Shell range. The forecourt sector has been crying out for some 'properly decent' food on the go, for some time.

Tracy West: retail commentator

Happy New Year to you all. I was going to begin the year with a look at trends but, if you were to believe all the hype, the biggest trend of all seems to be veganism.

Kevin Eastwood: BOSS - executive director

During the second half of 2018 we saw a significant rise in incidents of crime on forecourts, and the BOSS Forecourt Crime Index for the third quarter of 2018 revealed a 13% rise in the number of incidents. Rising fuel prices also pushed the cost of crime to retailers up by more than 20%. We know that levels of crime fluctuate with the seasons and that there is also a direct correlation with escalating fuel prices. BOSS saw No Means of Payment (NMoP) incidents increase during 2018 and we are now dealing with up to 10,000 incidents every month.

Chris Judge: analysis editor - Argus Media

Oil prices continued their downward trajectory in December after heavy losses in the last quarter of 2018. Concerns about over-supply were further complicated by an uncertain global economic outlook in response to US trade tariffs on China.

James Lowman: chief executive, ACS

As we kick off 2019 with the government still squarely focused on Brexit, it's easy to forget that there are other domestic policies and interventions on the horizon. We're especially interested in two areas where the government is looking to influence consumer behaviour through new legislation.

Merril Boulton: editor

Happy New Year to you all let's hope it's a good one, as the song goes. As we launch into 2019, things appear pretty positive for the fuel retailing sector, with property prices staying strong despite the big deals done last year (see Focus on Property, p31). Even MFG's buyout of MRH, which it was thought at the time might burst the property-price balloon, failed to take significant heat out of the market. With Prax Petroleum's purchase of big dealer group HKS, and oil companies like Certas Energy and particularly Jet back on the acquisition trail, competition for sites remains strong. And there's plenty of talk and debate among certain dealers hoping to expand their networks, looking approvingly at their good margins and positive numbers for the year, and still seeking growth.

Tracy West: retail commentator

Can you believe it's December already. Well, actually I know all of you can because you will have been planning your stock and staff for months. Me? Well, I am just your average consumer so the fact that December is here is still a bit of a shock!

Alexander Russell: consultant, Car Wash Association

The Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has published its report on hand car washes (HCWs) in the UK following written submissions and hearings held in the summer from a number of stakeholder parties, including the Car Wash Association.

Chris Judge: analysis editor, Argus Media

International oil prices were in freefall in November, posting the steepest monthly decline in four years on oversupply and political turbulence rippling through two of the world's largest producers, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Merril Boulton: editor

What an aggressive lot those 'gilet jaunes' are, turning Paris into a war zone last month with the worst riots in decades. Protesters clashed with police, looting stores and torching shops and cars, creating absolute chaos on some of the most iconic streets in the city. The reason? Rising fuel taxes. Welcome to our world or it would be if it wasn't for organisations such as the Petrol Retailers Association, who try to educate and inform those in power without so much as lifting a match or sporting a yellow vest. What the French need is Le PRA!

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 4 November 2019
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East Midlands130.73139.73126.64
North East129.5562.90137.10125.31
North West129.9963.90138.40126.48
Northern Ireland128.05133.57124.33
South East131.4566.90139.66127.42
South West130.7674.90137.94126.68
West Midlands130.4059.90137.63126.57
Yorkshire & Humber130.02139.47126.29

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When a major car manufacturer like Ford predicts that sales of its electrified cars will outnumber petrol and diesel models by 2022, does that ring alarm bells about the possible speed of change for forecourts?

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