Driving sales

Forecourt owners are continually adapting to emerging trends and requirements to maintain a competitive edge, Donna Ahern reports


Brand Central

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5 July 2024

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Through initiatives such as franchising, partnerships, and targeted investments, forecourts have undergone a notable evolution, becoming more comprehensive and financially rewarding entities in recent years.

Looking ahead, the incorporation of charging infrastructure within fuel station forecourts will be pivotal for the sustained expansion of the industry. Projections from the International Energy Agency (IEA) suggest that by 2030, electric vehicles (EVs) could comprise up to 20% of all registered vehicles in Europe. This could see an increase in demand in retail and leisure to improve customers’ in-store experience, while they wait for their vehicle to charge.  

‘EVs are a critical component of Ireland’s strategy to decarbonise transport’

Kevin McPartlan, CEO, FFI

Fuels for Ireland (FFI) the representative body of forecourt operators and fuel providers in Ireland members and forecourt operators are proactively installing EV chargers, writes Kevin McPartlan, CEO, FFI

There are already more EV charging points on Irish forecourts than in any other European Union member states. However, this expansion is hampered by several obstacles:  

  • Grid Capacity Constraints: The existing electricity grid often struggles to support the increased demand for EV charging, particularly in urban areas where the demand is highest.  
  • High Connection Costs: The cost associated with connecting to the grid can be too expensive, especially in regions requiring substantial grid upgrades.  
  • Slow Bureaucracy: The bureaucratic process for obtaining permission to install EV charging points is burdensome and slow, deterring investment in this critical infrastructure.  

To overcome these barriers, FFI advocates for several measures aimed at accelerating the deployment of EV charging infrastructure at forecourts in Ireland. These include, but are not limited to:  

  • Streamlined Planning Process: The current planning process for the installation of EV charging points is not working. The process for obtaining permission to install EV charging points is too long, too expensive and too inefficient. It needs to be quicker, cheaper and more efficient so that Ireland can move towards net zero and forecourt providers can provide infrastructure that Irish people badly need.   
  • Matching Funds Provided by Government: The cost of providing EV charging points is excessive to the point of being prohibitive. As such, the necessary roll-out of these charging points is being hindered with a resultant disincentive for members of the public to switch to EVs. In order to address this challenge, the government should provide matching funds for EV charging point projects to reduce the initial outlay for businesses.  
  • Access to Climate Action Fund (CAF) Funding: Alongside the point above, funding at a national level already exists to aid in the roll-out of EV charging infrastructure but forecourt providers are not allowed to access it. FFI is advocating to free up Climate Action Fund (CAF) finances so that forecourts are eligible to apply for CAF funding to support the installation of EV charging points.  
  • Waiving of PSO Levy: Quite simply, the PSO levy should be waived for forecourts that install EV charging points.  
  • Energy Savings Credits: Forecourts should be rewarded for quantifiable emissions reductions achieved through EV charging.  

While EVs are a critical component of Ireland’s strategy to decarbonise transport, FFI also believes that reliance on a single solution is insufficient. FFI urges the government to properly consider low-carbon liquid fuels like Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil as they can complement EVs by reducing emissions from internal combustion engine vehicles during the transition period.  

Ireland stands at a pivotal moment in its journey toward a sustainable transport future. FFI knows that forecourt operators are key players in this transition, but government support is crucial to overcome existing challenges. By adopting a multifaceted approach that includes both EV infrastructure and alternative fuels, Ireland can more effectively meet its climate targets and ensure a greener future.  

Hale and Applegreen announce roll-out of vape recycling across Applegreen forecourt locations in Ireland 

L-R: Deborah Howell, head of trading and distribution, Applegreen and Simon Carroll, managing director, Hale Vaping

Hale Vaping and Applegreen are pleased to announce the roll-out of vape recycling bins across the extensive network of Applegreen locations in Ireland. Large blue recycling bins for used vaping devices are now available at 81 Applegreen locations across Ireland.  

Simon Carroll, managing director, Hale Vaping, says: “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Applegreen on this worthwhile environmental initiative. Research conducted by Red C last September revealed that almost half of people using vapes weren’t aware that vapes could be recycled. And 45% didn’t know where to recycle their vape. To help address this, Hale ran a nationwide outdoor advertising last October with the message: ‘Put vapes in the Blue Bin’. The increasing visibility of vape recycling across the retail landscape, and especially now at Applegreen locations, will further support customers and should have a significant impact on increasing vape recycling.” 

Welcoming the roll-out of vape recycling bins across Applegreen forecourt locations, Deborah Howell, head of trading and distribution, Applegreen, states: “We are delighted to offer our customers the opportunity to recycle their used vapes when they next visit Applegreen. The installation of the new recycling bins complement’s Applegreen’s wider ‘Drive Change’ sustainability and carbon neutral strategy. Part of this strategy is to support our customers and the communities that we serve. In this context, the availability of vape recycling bins at Applegreen for the safe disposal of used vapes makes total sense. This new initiative will further complement the ever-increasing range of services we offer, which include not just quality assured, fully traceable and low price-guaranteed fuel, but also delicious coffee and food, parcel collection and household essentials.  

Founded in 2013 to support smokers that want to quit, and entirely Irish owned, Hale Vaping distributes and sells a wide range of vaping devices and e-liquids. The disposable e-cigarette ranges have had a huge increase in popularity due to their convenience, cost, flavour options and availability. They play an important role in helping adult smokers who want to explore vaping as a tool to help them reduce their smoking, or to quit completely. This has however created concerns around their environmental impacts and what are the best ways to recover and recycle these products. 

Vaping devices are considered waste electronic and electrical equipment (or ‘WEEE’) under waste management regulations because they contain a battery. They also contain plastics, some metals and very small amounts of residue, food grade, e-liquids.  

They should be returned to a specialist store, disposed of in a blue battery recycling box supplied by WEEE Ireland which are widely available in retail outlets, or in the vape recycling bins now available at Applegreen locations. These used vapes will then be collected and safely transported for recycling. They should not be put into general black household or street bins. 

As Ireland’s leading producer and retailer of vaping products Hale recognises their responsibilities. Specifically on the environment we support the recovery and recycling of used vaping devices and contribute to WEEE Ireland for every vaping device we sell to ensure they get the resources they need to fund this important program. Hale Vaping is a member of WEEE Ireland, the approved producer responsibility scheme for waste electrical goods, and pays for the collection of e-cigarettes and vaping products that we place on the market.  

Commenting on the proposed policy to ban disposables Carroll, adds: “Hale don’t believe it will work and could create a market in illicit, unregulated disposables where we cannot be sure about the origin or safety of the disposables that will continue to be available; and waste illicit vapes will still need to be collected and recycled.” 

The new Public Health Bill that will introduce a new licensing system where every retail outlet selling vaping devices will be licensed would help ensure that vapes can only be sold from suitable premises and it will help improve enforcement of regulations around the sale of vapes.   

“Our view is that the Government should allow the new Public Health Bill take effect before deciding on extreme measures such as a ban,” he concludes.


Maxol Lubricants upgrades fleet to support surge in demand for adblue

Owen O’Neill, general manager, Maxol Lubricants

Maxol Lubricants, the dedicated lubricants division of The Maxol Group, has upgraded its fleet of trucks and tankers as part of a strategic rebrand project. Aimed to support growing demand for nationwide deliveries of products including AdBlue, the fleet expansion is also part of the Group’s wider investment plans. 

As part of its greener vehicle mobility strategy, Maxol has also recently announced the introduction of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), a second-generation biofuel, to selected forecourts nationwide. As part of the roll-out, Maxol is already fuelling 30% of its own lubricants fleet vehicles with Maxol hvoPRO, as it advances its mission to reduce the company’s carbon footprint at multiple touchpoints across the business. 

Maxol Lubricants delivers an extensive range of products and services to a network of over 1,500 customers across the world. Over the last six years, the division has reported a year-on-year increase in the volume of AdBlue with General Manager Owen O’Neill citing a 106% growth in volumes since 2017. 

AdBlue is an aqueous urea-based solution stored in a dedicated tank and injected into the exhaust stream of a diesel engine to lower harmful emissions. Demand for AdBlue is increasing due to its growing use to meet emission regulatory standards, diesel engine exhaust treatment fluid in end-use sectors including marine, automotive, and aerospace, and severe limits on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

Speaking about this growth, Owen O’Neill, Maxol Lubricants, comments: “We’ve invested substantially in upgrading our fleet including adding five new vehicles to support the demand for nationwide deliveries. We currently supply and manage 350 storage tanks throughout the island of Ireland. We work closely with many important government and semi state bodies and businesses such as Translink, with whom we’ve been a supplier for the last ten years providing AdBlue to the Translink Group. We look forward to building on these important partnerships and being in a position to offer more options to meet growing demand for these types of products, catering to a broad range of industries from haulage to marine, agriculture to industrial, and everything in between.” 

For more information on Maxol’s Lubricant’s division, visit: www.maxol.ie/lubricants



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