Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community

Merril Boulton: editor

The silence has been deafening! Has nobody noticed the fuel prices on Applegreen's Welcome Break estate? I guess the national press are rather busy with all the current shenanigans at Westminster Towers they usually enjoy making big headlines around fuel pricing. Under the Fuelgood branding from its Irish operation Applegreen is pledging to offer the 'lowest motorway fuel prices', and it seems to have been doing just that, with prices averaging 10-15ppl lower than the rest of the motorway network.

The company has previously suggested it would undertake such a strategy, but of course until last year it didn't have a motorway network on which to do it.

Applegreen's slogan on its traditional standalone sites is 'low prices always', which is reassuring to its motoring customers, but will such a strategy work on the motorway?

Would a fuel price-sensitive customer ever go to a motorway site to refuel unless they were in total distress having made a major miscalculation about the amount of fuel in their tank?

Mind you I'm not totally price conscious, generally weighing up the convenience, mission and quality of the services on offer I'm happy to pay a bit of a premium for that. But I do baulk at paying 15ppl over the odds, so it would definitely be a £20 distress purchase for me. But who are the drivers who fill up at the motorway is it always distress? Do they actually look at the prices? How much more fuel can Applegreen sell if motorists feel the prices are more 'reasonable'. How much more traffic will it generate to their sites and all their other services, if drivers realise the fuel prices are 'relatively normal' and there's a benefit to not driving another 12 miles to the next one. I'm sure competitor motorway operators must be spitting blood, the last thing they need is a fuel price war. This could be an interesting one to watch if anyone notices!

Meanwhile, other service station strategies and innovations are being recognised at our forthcoming Forecourt Trader Awards event. We've had a great summer ooh-ing and aah-ing and sometimes tut-tutting at sites nationwide. Standards continue to rise but who has prevailed? Get your tickets now!

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 9 December 2019
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East130.4761.40138.28126.22
East Midlands130.01140.66126.05
London130.41139.39126.85
North East128.45138.66124.29
North West129.1663.90138.34125.49
Northern Ireland127.22130.90123.29
Scotland129.84136.07125.15
South East131.04138.34126.93
South West129.9167.57137.18125.74
Wales129.00135.78124.71
West Midlands129.94138.53126.11
Yorkshire & Humber129.21138.68125.42

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