The Petrol Retailers’ Association (PRA) has expressed its support of the government’s recommendation to delay the introduction of an E10 grade of petrol.

In a letter this week to Norman Baker MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, PRA chairman Brian Madderson said he had no doubt that the government is right to vigorously encourage fuel suppliers to delay plans for the early introduction a new product as the impact on many small rural filling stations could prove fatal.

He stressed that the early introduction of an E10 grade of petrol would inevitably place a further financial and operational burden on smaller sites because many have tank and dispenser facilities limited to just standard unleaded petrol and diesel.

“At last some sense from the government as the Department for Transport seek to discourage fuel suppliers and blenders from introducing this new grade of E10 petrol,” Madderson told Forecourt Trader.

“There had been a possibility that this could start happening in quarter one, 2013. This would be the nightmare scenario for so many small, rural sites presently dispensing just the two standard graded of petrol and diesel.”

Madderson also pointed out to Baker that independent dealers are under huge and rising cashflow stress caused by both the rapid inflation of product cost and the relentless increase of duty and VAT, which therefore limits the availability of new investment monies to deal with any changes to their product mix.

“There is also a significant impact on consumers when so many families and businesses are already under pressure,” Madderson’s letter stated. “Overwhelmingly these issues point to the delayed introduction of E10 as being essential for consumers and the independent retailers alike.

“You will be aware that some fuel supplying companies, possibly with vested commercial interests, may lobby government to introduce E10 at an earlier date or even disregard your recommendations and proceed on a timetable which meets their own corporate objectives.”

The PRA has requested a meeting with Baker to discuss the matter.