The publication of Shell’s latest study into energy scenarios over the next 40 years couldn’t be more timely. Entitled ’Signals and Signposts’, it updates the company’s thinking by taking into account the impact of the global economic and financial crisis.


Jeremy Bentham, the company’s vice president, business environment, comments in the report: "We believe the world is entering an era of volatile transitions and intensified economic cycles... Over the next four decades, the world’s energy system will see profound developments..."


It’s an extremely interesting read, but never mind the next 40 years, it feels like it’s all happening now. The bitter turmoil in Libya following other popular uprisings in the region, and possibly more to come is causing havoc with the global oil market. The conflicts are predicted to add another 5ppl to fuel prices in the UK, on top of the 5ppl increase already estimated taking into account fuel duty and inflation rises. Fuel pump prices are getting STUPID!


In our Moneytalk column (page 14) calculations show that a 4ppl rise in typical pump prices, could add £180,000 to the total annual value of takings (including VAT) of a site selling 4.5mlpa. That could translate into additional merchant fees of around £900 and cash handling charges of around £300. That’s an extra £1,200 out of existing sales volume with no increase in gross margin.


On top of that, more motorists are busy trying NOT to visit any forecourt even when they are running on empty (see news page 5). And when they do buy fuel, they can’t take their beady eyes off every fraction of a penny being displayed on the price pole. Which is why many retailers are losing volume and not able to compete with the tempting offers being touted by the supermarket giants. And beyond our sector the spiralling oil prices could also jeopardise economic recovery. Yes, I know you want to bury your head in the duvet but some of the ones that don’t, feature in our Top 50 Indies listing (page 10)!