The community speaks

How would you summarise 2023?

The fuel distribution community looks back over the year.

Asked for ‘3 words or phrases that sum up working in fuel distribution in 2023’ our community of distributors said:

  • Gross Margin Gone
  • Rapidly changing.  Increasingly fragmented. Unrecognised significance.
  • Normalisation of margins. Enjoyable. The return of credit risk.
  • Family, forward-thinking, exciting.
  • Never a dull moment, inspiring, sometimes taxing and an exciting industry to be in.
  • Challenging due to international conditions and continuing changes in consumer behaviour.
  • Innovative as new technologies are adopted across supply networks.
  • Encouraging as consumers are increasingly choosing sustainable options over legacy fuels.  
  • Challenging. Exciting. Fulfilling.
  • Sustainability, Change, Volatility.
  • Opportunity, Family.
  • Challenging. Ever-changing. Enjoyable (!?)
  • Busy. Rewarding. Fun.

A flashback to 2022 – has the industry changed in a year?

Last year the community said:

The community speaks
  • Challenging, shortages, and uncertainty
  • Turbulent, challenging, and educational
  • Challenging, necessity, and resourceful
  • Demanding, satisfying, and exceeding
  • Challenging, exciting, and successful

It seems that ‘challenge’ is the one certainty in this industry.

What are your hopes for 2024?

Looking ahead to the new year, we asked our community what 3 things they are hoping 2024 will bring and they said:

  • Increase in margins across grades to make the industry sustainable.
  • Customers join the Energy Transition move to HVO.
  • New to the workforce: school leavers and graduates joining our industry for a long career.
  • A coherent and realistic energy strategy from government. 
  • An end to the upset resulting from Ukraine and Israel/Gaza. 
  • Manageable tax incentives for using renewable fuels.
  • Growth.
  • Operational efficiency with rising truck and P&L costs.
  • Happy team within the company.
  • Further industry involvement.
  • That as a supplier we can add optimum value to industry members.
  • A stable economy in a stable world.
  • Progress from central government to encourage increased sustainability amongst both consumers and suppliers, especially in non-fleet applications.
  • Continued growth of renewable and sustainable fuels across both the supply and consumer networks. 
  • Continued uptake in sustainable fuels.
  • Improved pricing indices for sustainable fuels.
  • Lower inflation.
  • An increase in community-based activism from fuel suppliers; there are multiple avenues for fuel suppliers to take such as volunteering and mentoring programs, charity patronage, fundraising efforts or even direct donations. 
  • Cheaper fuel prices.
  • A reduction in fuel poverty.
  • England to win the Six Nations!
  • Cold weather.
  • A fantastic EXPO.
  • England winning Euros.
  • Cold weather.
  • No drama.
  • A peaceful world.
  • On a personal note, it has to be Health, Happiness and Gratitude for all my family and friends.

A flashback – are the industry’s hopes different a year on?

Last year the community said:

  • Peace and the hope we can end the Ukraine crisis and allow people democracy and freedom across the world. (many times)
  • Price stability.
  • Arsenal to win the premiership.
  • Windfall Tax.
  • Diversity.
  • Growth.
  • Political stability.
  • Prosperity.
  • Parties.
  • Health for us all.
  • A successful year of business.

It is clear that hope springs eternal within our community and time has not blunted our enthusiasm for peace, stability and sporting success but, alongside these, the hope on most lips is for growth in sustainable fuels – let’s see what 2024 brings on that front!

What are you hoping to read about in 2024?

Those in the fuel distribution community share what’s on their minds.

  • Asked ‘what would you like to read about in 2024?’ our community of distributors said:
  • Are there too many fuel depots in the UK?
  • What is the best value for money truck?
  • Can we make rebated fuel digital taxation as opposed to dying red?
  • The changing needs and expectations of customers with respect to liquid fuels.
  • The knowledge gaps in our industry and what can be done. 
  • Industry facts and statistics.
  • Industry innovations.
  • Industry members and their day-to-day involvement in the industry
  • Relations with adjacent industries, joint working etc.
  • Emerging Markets.  
  • Review and impact a year plus on after the change for red to white
  • Domestic market review.
  • Prior years, here and now and what do we think this sector will be like in the coming years.
  • Better understanding of future fuels, HVO heating oil, the government decreasing the duty on HVO for the consumer.
  • Sustainable fuels.
  • Customer service successes.
  • Fuel science & product innovation.
  • A greater ministerial understanding and acknowledgement of the key role that liquid fuels plays in the energy mix of future fuels.
  • Reducing our reliance on imported energy.
  • The resilience of the successful UK liquid fuels market.
  • Market outlook, new distributors, competing solutions (e.g. heat pumps, hydrogen).
  • Innovation.
  • Future Fuels.
  • More day in the life of.
  • Young people still coming into the industry.
  • Happy drivers!
  • Liverpool winning the Premiership!
  • Fuel Tanker OTC developments.
  • Family-owned distributors celebrating milestones i.e. 50 years etc.
  • The emergence of more young employees in our industry.
  • Manchester United beating Liverpool in the last minute of the FA Cup Final to seal the double…OK, not very likely to happen but I can only dream.

Some of these we can make happen; some may not be within our gift. But we will always endeavour to cover, through our channels, the topics at the forefront of your mind.

Thank you to all who shared your thoughts with us – your feedback is invaluable – if you’d still like to have your say please get in touch as we love to hear from you!

Drop an email to Claudia: claudia@fueloilnews.co.uk or contact Margaret on margaret@fueloilnews.co.uk or 07786 267527.