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News » Analysis

Fuelling the front-line services
12 May, 2020

Petrol filling stations up and down the country have helped to keep the nation's emergency services working during the coronavirus lockdown, despite facing some major challenges. Keeping sites open has been vital to provide the fuel for emergency service staff to get to work, and to maintain deliveries to hospitals, care homes and supermarkets.

Protection is on hand
07 April, 2020

In just one week, more than 1,000 forecourts globally have taken up Devon-based GripHero's offer of providing free hand-protection dispensers to protect their customers from the transmission of coronavirus at the fuel pump.

Essential service in virus panic
07 April, 2020

Fuel retailers have been identified by the government as one of the keys to keeping emergency personnel mobile, and making the transportation of vital supplies possible, during the coronavirus lockdown. But while the fuel retailing industry has been working flat out to ensure it can operate safely for customers and staff, retailers are also having to cope with a massive fall in sales with some reporting fuel volumes down as much as 80%. PRA chairman Brian Madderson explained: "We have been and will continue to be exceedingly pro-active with support for members." Madderson and PRA commercial manager, Gordon Balmer, have been in daily contact with the government's Energy Resilience Team, and a daily briefing by MILS, the PRA's legal specialists, has been posted on the members-only section of the website (

Powering into future mobility
10 March, 2020

Fuel cell electric vehicles will be the mainstay of vehicles going forward, according to Jon Hunt, manager of alternative fuels at Toyota. During an enthralling presentation at Forecourt Trader's inaugural Summit at The Belfry Hotel in Sutton Coldfield last month, he told delegates that Toyota believes "pure electrification is not the dominant route we should be taking, despite what your hear"

Moving the goalposts
10 February, 2020

The announcement that the government may bring forward the end of sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans to 2035, or even earlier, has alarmed many stakeholders involved in the automotive industry. The sector has been working towards a target date of 2040 since it was first set in 2010.

Riding crest of the wave into 2020
13 January, 2020

After MFG got approval for its huge takeover of MRH in 2018, the market was bracing itself for an even bigger deal in 2019, with Sainsbury bidding to take over Asda to become the UK's biggest fuel retailer by volume. But while the Competition and Markets Authority was willing to allow the first deal after MFG agreed to sell 38 sites, the supermarkets' plans were deemed a step too far and the rest of the market heaved a sigh of relief as the CMA put an outright ban on the deal.

Zeroing in with fuels
16 December, 2019

The government made its commitment to electrification of transport clear in its Road to Zero strategy, which it published in July 2018. The document claimed the government remains 'technology neutral' but then devoted the majority of its pages to highlighting its support for the development of electric vehicles (EVs) and the infrastructure that will be required to keep them charged. It also reiterated an earlier commitment to end sales of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040.

EVolving the network
15 November, 2019

Shell is planning to be the first fuel retailer in the UK to take out traditional fuels from an operating service station and replace them with an electric vehicle-only charging hub. An application for planning permission for the development on the company's site in Fulham, west London, was made at the end of October, with the hope and expectation that the hub would be operational by the middle of next year. The announcement was made as Shell celebrated the installation of its 50th UK EV (electric vehicle) charging point, and the installation of the first 150kW post on a service station. It also followed an announcement a week earlier about Shell's 'carbon neutral' programme, giving drivers the chance to offset their carbon dioxide emissions free of charge when they buy fuel at its UK service stations using the Go+ card. The scheme went live on October 17 and will cost the oil major £10m over the next 12 months. Bernie Williamson, Shell UK Retail's general manager, said she was "super excited and proud" with the milestones that have been achieved so far as well as the company's plans going forward. "This is about us thriving through the energy transition. We're looking at the next evolution and the needs of our customers in the broader sense. We're doing nature-based solutions, giving motorists the opportunity to do something about their carbon footprint as we continue to invest and ramp up long-term solutions of electric vehicle charge posts for those people when they're ready to move to EV transportation. We're ideally placed for that we have a fantastic network where over 75% of the population are within 15 minutes of a Shell service station."

Speeding ahead
10 October, 2019

Sales of electric cars in the UK are currently minuscule compared with their internal combustion engine (ICE) cousins, but the country's biggest-selling car maker is gearing up for a rapid change in this state of affairs. At the Frankfurt Motor Show last month, Ford announced that it expects the majority of its sales will be electrified by the end of 2022. This will require a major shake-up in the UK car market because in the year to August battery and hybrid cars achieved a combined market share of 7.5%, up from 6% for the same period a year ago. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) were the star performers up 93.1%, from 9,009 units to 17,393, and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) performed strongly up 20.2% from 50,739 units to 60,989, but demand for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) collapsed earlier this year after the government removed tax incentives, and their sales were down 37% from 27,918 units to 17,594. These figures are dwarfed, however, by the 994,941 petrol engine cars sold over the same period, up 2.4% on a year ago and with a market share of 65.5%, and diesel sales of 410,012, down 19.3% after well-publicised problems but still taking a 27% market share.

A moving target?
09 September, 2019

In July 2017, when the government published its long-awaited clean air strategy and its Road to Zero transport policy, its confirmation that it would ban sales of conventional internal combustion engine cars and vans by 2040 met with very little opposition. Just the fact that it had set a firm cut-off date for sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans was enough to satisfy most environmentalists, while vehicle manufacturers and fuel companies agreed that 2040 gave them enough time to adapt.

Have you introduced a new way of doing business/added new services during the pandemic, that you will continue to offer in the future?