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

David Charman - Chairman CWA

As we enter the money months of car washing, take time to reflect on what has happened within our industry over the past few years.

The UK is a highly mechanised mature economy and yet a few years ago, with mass immigration, the wash industry entered a cycle, returning to the pre-industrialisation practice of manual work.

The hand car wash industry succeeded in this practice because operators slipped under the radar of every government body tasked with maintaining the environment, welfare and economy. Because of this, their operational costs were non-existent, allowing them to charge in some cases 75% less than the competition. Growth was tremendous and the result in 2013 is that the mechanised industry is decimated and jobs, businesses and UK plc suffered.

To make matters worse, the really bad hand washes provide a path to legality for the illegal immigrant, a money-laundering path for criminals and through waste water causes destruction of our rivers and the environment.

To detail just one aspect, the loss of revenue to UK plc from the hand car wash industry's annual turnover of approximately £540m has been estimated to be an annual loss to the Exchequer of £200m. This is as a result of lost fees payable to local authorities (such as planning permission, building regulations, etc) as well as potential taxes.

But what of the future for the mechanised and legitimate car wash? A well-known supermarket chain pulled out of trolley washing a couple of years ago. They have now invested in concrete pads and correct drainage solutions, with the result that hand wash prices are comparable to mechanised. However, they are also competing with the cheap unregulated wash that is unfairly trading, so we are seeking to have them as members to assist us in the battle of closing these unscrupulous rogues down.

So, with regard to the cycle referred to earlier? Well, I think you can see that the days of the cheap hand car wash are numbered. Mankind's endeavour to make life easier will prevail and the dawn of a new exciting future with quality valeting centres, self-serve jet washes and high-speed mechanical washes, will return. Just make sure you are ready!

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 15 January 2018
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East124.9460.90131.85122.27
East Midlands124.34132.31121.54
London125.0662.90132.42122.10
North East123.94133.63121.07
North West124.1658.50132.51121.18
Northern Ireland123.4169.90128.40120.85
Scotland124.5774.90130.88121.33
South East125.1561.40132.52122.48
South West124.73130.24121.91
Wales124.44128.57121.19
West Midlands123.7465.23132.27121.20
Yorkshire & Humber123.9161.90132.74121.12

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