A fighting fund to tackle the industry-wide problem of wetstock losses is being launched by the Petrol Retailers’ Association.

PRA director Ray Holloway is casting the net to see how many retailers will support his challenge to change the way fuel is delivered without any check on the quantity actually dropped into forecourt tanks.

“This challenge is about the integrity of measurement for motor fuel deliveries for retailers,” he said. “I maintain that all petrol retailers are implicated in this measurement issue to some extent, and the reason for that is that no retailer today gets to check the quantity of product actually being delivered as a result of an order being placed. In what other industry would this be allowed, where three quarters of the retail price is tax going to the Government.

“My case to the oil companies has been to get behind this in two ways. One is to join with us in messaging to Government that this whole thing cannot go on – we have to look at how duty is paid on motor fuels. Secondly we have to address this whole issue of the oil company having to prove to the retailer – as is the entitlement in my opinion – how much product is actually being delivered, against that which was ordered.”

The PRA is currently sending out letters to retailers asking them to get behind the challenge and pledge their support in the form of cash which will be held in an independent account, in the event that a legal challenge has to be mounted. If not, all money will be returned.

“We’ll take the rest of this year to raise funds,” said Holloway. “It won’t happen overnight.”