We’re in the middle of The Great Fuel Price Rip-Off!
Here’s a thought for all vending operators: according to the RAC, right now a tank of gas costs £7.20 more than it should… And here’s another WTF? The profit margins on petrol that your local forecourt owner is enjoying are now three times higher than they were, on average, before the pandemic began and more specifically, since needless panic buying broke out thanks to unfounded fears that UK plc was about to run dry.
But then came the crash in oil prices – so why are we paying the highest fuel prices in living memory? According to The Daily Telegraph, ‘forecourts are earning a 19p per litre margin on petrol and 15p on diesel following the oil price crash, according to the RAC, which tracks consumer prices. This is three times the usual margin on petrol and two and a half times the usual margin on diesel.’
In short, in The Great Fuel Price Rip-Off, the fuel retailers are busy making hay while vending operators are trying to make ends meet.
The RAC’s Simon Williams is not a happy bunny, and rightly so. ‘Retailers must cut the cost of fuel or they will lose all credibility’, he said. ‘If nothing happens in the next few days, we will be talking to the Government and demanding an inquiry.’ Strong stuff.
So, despite the fact that you’ve invested heavily in route management technology to trim your transport costs and lower your overheads, the profiteering skunks responsible for The Great Fuel Price Rip-Off are ripping us off at the pumps and clawing back all that saved cash – and then some.
Simon said: “Drivers are in dire need of some respite and now it’s impossible to blame the prices on rising oil costs. It seems as though retailers think they can get away with charging more because of the public’s general acceptance of rising energy prices.’
Never mind ‘the public’. If you’re running a fleet of vehicles that are out on the roads all day, every day… Well, you do the sums. It’s a cash haemorrhage that will cause many operators a significant problem – if the situation is allowed to continue unabated…
Before the drop in wholesale prices, retailers were making a 9p per litre margin, some 3p more than the long-term average. According the RAC, unleaded is currently 148p a litre on average, super unleaded 160p a litre, and diesel 151p. I can remember a meeting at Vendman, many years ago, in which we all had our calculators out, trying to monetise the benefits of route management. The number we used for the sums – and we were criticised by some, who thought it was a pudding too well egged – was £1.43 per litre. The price of fuel then plummeted, and our report was shelved. I might do well to dust it down…
I’m not sure what, as an industry, we can do about it, short of e-mailing our MPs. But it’s just bloody typical that, whatever life you lead or business you run, there’s always somebody looking for an opportunity to give you a bloody nose.
Over to David and the team at the AVA. Rattle some cages!
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