Could the supermarket fuel vouchers cost Barton its filling station?
By BartonLady | Monday, July 25, 2011, 14:16
Everyone must have noticed that the major supermarkets are using fuel reduction vouchers as an incentive to shop at their stores. While here in Barton we do not have a supermarket filling station allowing us to take advantage of their reduced fuel costsand if we had would that mean the loss of our independent filling station. We do still qualify for the fuel vouchers offered by the major supermarkets which we have to travel outside of the town to use. This takes money away from our local traders.
Could these offers mean the loss of local filling stations?
Morrison's have now joined Tesco's and Sainsbury's in issuing vouchers when you spend above a set limit. While I am not complaining about this, anything that reduces the cost of travel, what I keep thinking is if they can afford to offer up to 15pence a litre off fuel why don't they just reduce the pump price even more?
All the major supermarkets reduced the price of their fuel in late June after the announcement that the International Energy Agency's would release 60 million barrels of government-owned oil stocks to help reduce global oil prices.
So why Sainsbury's and Tesco's have not just reduced the pump price instead of playing this cat and mouse offers game? Sainsbury's have been offering a 10p off voucher when you spend over £60, the offer ended this weekend, and Tesco's have been offering a 5p per litre offer on the purchase of certain produces for a number of weeks now. The profit margin on a sleeve of tuna fish for example, can not possibly equal the voucher value of 5p a litre on the average tank of say 60 litres, a saving of £3. So what is the philosophy behind the offer? If there is that much profit on the product why not reduce the sale price.
Asda have taken an altogether different view they have introduced a fuel cap. Asda have offered a guarantee that diesel will not rise above £1.327 a litre and petrol £1.287. Everyone qualifies for these prices without having to buy huge packs of loo roll or tins of tuna!
While I have to applaud the efforts that the supermarkets are making to reduce the weekly fuel bill, we have to spare a thought for the independent fuel stations. Here in Barton we are dependent on our local filling station if the monopoly of the supermarkets takes hold we as a town could loose a vital service. When the supermarkets are selling their fuel at a price below that of the purchase price for independents they are not going to survive much longer. These offers while of benefit to the consumer in reducing the cost of the weekly fuel bill, they are destructive to the vital services of the town.