PRA comments on road to zero strategy


“Following the Department for Transport (DfT) publication of the Road to Zero strategy earlier this week, The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) accepts the White Paper’s ambition of ending the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040 and seeing at least 50%, and as many as 70%, of new car sales and up to 40% of new van sales being ultra-low emission by 2030”, comments Brian Madderson, Chairman of the PRA.

The PRA accepts many of the policy initiatives including:

  • The use of the VED regime to incentivise reductions in emissions
  • An Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce to bring together the energy and automotive industries
  • Charge points in new homes and on new street lighting columns where appropriate
  • A £400m investment fund to encourage charging infrastructure to be installed
  • Mandation of a common minimum method of accessing public charge points
  • Allowing recharging without a pre-existing contract

However the PRA has raised concerns about measures in the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill to which the White Paper refers:

Mandating charge points to be made available at Motorway Service Areas (MSAs) may not be appropriate for the cars, vans and lorries using those service areas.  It is wrong for the Secretary of State for Transport to try to second guess the market; it represents totally unfair interference in the business of the MSAs.

The granting of powers to Metro Mayors to direct large fuel retailers to provide electric charging points is also wrong.  It should not be down to government to decide how a fuel supplier chooses how much of a particular fuel to supply.  The fuel supplier needs the freedom to adapt to market circumstances.

The definition of ‘large fuel retailer’ is not given in the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill.  This gives even more arbitrary power to Metro Mayors and will most likely hold back investment in new technologies from the owners of larger sites while they wait to see if they are going to be dictated to.

Smaller sites may also find themselves identified by politicians as big enough to be forced to put in charging points which the politicians – not the demands of car users – deem suitable.  Some could be driven out of business by these decisions.

It is unclear whether the £400m investment fund included in the Road to Zero will be accessible for forecourt operators wanting to include these facilities at their sites.  With demand so low, they need an incentive to invest.

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Brian Madderson is available for interview.
The PRA represents 80% of Motorway Service Areas that are heavily used by HGV fleets for bunker fuel and in addition Independent dealers that PRA represent have 70% of all offset hi-speed diesel pumps much needed by truck and van fleets to keep our goods moving across the UK.

About PRA

The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses.