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Tracy West: retail commentator

As a big soft drinks consumer, I've found it interesting to see how the Sugar Levy has been put into action in various retail outlets.

Merril Boulton: editor

Quite an eye-opener at last month's APEA meeting (see News Extra, page 10). Not normally my type of gig, since it's all very detailed legal and technical stuff relating to the Petroleum & Explosives Acts and associated environment legislation.

Brian Madderson: PRA chairman

In the real world, the latest UK vehicle statistics from SMMT for January to May 2018 versus the same period last year confirm the collapse of diesel models (-31%), some recovery in petrol +11.3%, the anticipated increase in hybrids +22.6% but a surprising drop in batteryonly electric (BEV) by 4.9%. Thus the latter still represent only a fraction of the total vehicle park. However, it is clear that motorists are sufficiently concerned about actual and proposed anti-diesel moves by government and Local Authorities to opt for petrol and hybrid when buying new. Though this is not replicated in the used car market, where both prices and volumes of diesel models are holding up well.

Charlotte Blum Analysis editor

Geopolitical moves by the US have dominated oil prices, with sanctions on oil producers driving them up further. But Opec is signalling it could increase output, and the danger of a global trade war has just bubbled up again as a threat to demand.

Alexander Russell: consultant, Car Wash Association (CWA)

The Car Wash Association, in conjunction with the Petrol Retailers Association, is continuing to work towards achieving a much greater level of compliance among unregulated hand car washes (HCWs) with employment law, fiscal law, Health & Safety regulations and, most recently, in dealing with the environmental hazards of trade effluent disposal. To this end, the CWA lodged an extensive submission to the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) on May 18, ahead of an evidence inquiry session later this month examining HCWs, where senior representatives from the CWA are expected to be invited as expert witnesses. This inquiry will focus primarily on compliance with waste water regulations, alongside allegations of tax evasion and modern slavery. Of special interest to the EAC inquiry will be the correct storage and use of chemicals, some possibly toxic like hydrochloric acid, and the disposal of the trade effluent resulting from the use of such chemicals.

Tracy West: Retail commentator

A recent survey of 1,000 consumers across the UK (undertaken by SOTI who say they are the world's most trusted provider of mobile and Internet of Things device management systems in the world), found that 80% of people would be 'comfortable' in a retail setting where only self-checkout tills were available. Immediately, upon reading this, I thought those 1,000 consumers would have to be younger people but apparently respondents ranged from 18 to 60-years old.

Merril Boulton: editor

Consolidation continues to be on trend as yet more giants, this time Sainsbury's and Asda, come together to create a mammoth grocery, general merchandise and clothing retail group with a combined revenue of £51bn. And let's not forget about the 630 or so service stations they have between them, meaning they will collectively hold a 17.9% share of the fuel market. Imagine the impact that could have if the Asda approach to leading fuel prices down is rolled out across the Sainsbury's network too.

Stephen Marcos Jones: director general, UKPIA

The eighth high-level meeting of the EU Refining Forum was held in April in Brussels. The Refining Forum was first established in 2013 in recognition of the need to address the cumulative impact of policies on the EU refining industry. This important annual meeting brings together representatives from industry, Member States, the Commission, European Parliament and other key stakeholders to discuss planned and future regulatory proposals with potentially significant impacts on the EU's refining industry and on the security of supply of petroleum products. This year's event represented an important opportunity to discuss the refining industry in the context of energy transition, its enduring relevance and the role of innovation to make the most of opportunities ahead.

Charlotte Blum: analysis editor, Argus Media

Brent crude futures at this week topped $75/bl for the first time since November 2014, pushed up by tensions in the Middle East that are exacerbating the underlying effects of strong demand and producers' output restraint. UK drivers are not yet feeling the pressure of the latest $6-7/bl rise as retail prices are slow to catch up.

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.

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 18 November 2019
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East131.0157.70138.30126.81
East Midlands130.59139.47126.61
London131.00140.06127.56
North East129.23139.06125.25
North West129.8364.92138.07126.36
Northern Ireland127.82133.40124.44
Scotland130.4852.70137.39126.25
South East131.4769.90139.42127.48
South West130.5064.90136.17126.41
Wales129.68135.94125.44
West Midlands130.33140.40126.46
Yorkshire & Humber129.8099.90138.58126.25

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