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Issues for forecourt retailers

16th June 2020
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Now that the much awaited Irish Programme for Government (PFG) document has been agreed it is more important than ever that we can put your views to elected Members and push the retailer agenda.

Please review the document and feedback your experiences on these topics. On the back of that information we can engage with the suppliers and government officials and make real change.

Send your information to or pick up the phone to Michael on 087 254 6512.

We really do need your views on these important issues and many thanks in advance.

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Irish forecourt prices at four year low is good news for consumers says IPRA

21st April 2020
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According to data released by the AA today, customers are paying substantially less for their road fuels at a level last seen in 2016. The AA’s most recent monthly study of fuel prices found that, on average, a litre of petrol now costs 126.5c, representing a reduction of over 15c compared to February’s average cost of 141.9c.

David Blevings, spokesperson for the Irish Petrol Retailers Association (IPRA) said, ““Oil prices are falling sharply on the back of decreasing demand and increasing stocks. With most countries introducing isolation tactics and closing non-essential businesses we are starting to see signs of distress in the oil market with oil stocks surging and demand falling sharply.

News media widely reported that oil prices were trading negatively and this referred to West Texas Crude futures due to expire today and the price reached an unprecedented minus $37.63 a barrel. Sellers were paying buyers to take oil because of an over supplied market as companies have run out of room to store it. In Europe prices are benchmarked on Brent Crude which is still trading at c. $20/barrel.

Some investment banks are speculating that oil could fall further in the short term due to the oversupply and if this does happen, we could see further reductions at the pump”, added David.

Looking to the longer term, most pundits are predicting that Crude will settle at $35-45/barrel following the recent agreement to reduce supply but with no sign of detailed plans to restart the world economy this number could be still some way off.

Some investment banks are speculating that oil could fall further in the short term due to the oversupply and if this does happen, we could see further reductions at the pump”, added David.

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Will Ireland follow UK lead and adopt E10 for unleaded fuel?

15th April 2020
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The UK government announced plans to make E10 petrol – which contains up to 10 per cent ethanol – the standard grade of unleaded in 2021. The Department for Transport (DfT) launched a consultation in March 2020 into making E10 the new standard, and wants E5 (the current standard, with up to five per cent ethanol) to be available only as super-unleaded.

James Cogan, Industry & Policy Advisor for Ethanol Europe has an obvious interest in this move and has indicated that it is only a matter of time before Ireland follows. James said, “E10 was approved in the USA for all cars 40 years ago and has been the only standard on offer there for nearly 20 years, while a dozen EU countries now have E10 as the market leading blend”.

IPRA is asking Members for their views on the introduction of E10. To help you, please review the helpful guide from James HERE.

IPRA office will send a separate mailchimp note asking for your views.

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Petrol retailers stay open as essential service but call for rate relief as business drops by 70%

31st March 2020
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The trade body representing the forecourt sector, the Irish Petrol Retailers Association (IPRA) has today written to Ministers John Paul Phelan and Eoghan Murphy asking for forecourts to be included in any Council plan for rate relief.


David Blevings, spokesperson for the IPRA said, “Retail sites have been designated an essential service in the recent list of essential service providers published by Government. While our members are happy to serve the emergency services, HGV drivers, defence forces, and essential county council workers their turnover has reduced by c.70%. This is due to the obvious reduction in traffic volumes as people stay at home and consumers’ switch to buying only essential items.


Local forecourts will be the only shop in many Irish villages open for many customers and while our Members are pleased to remain open, they cannot be expected to pay rates at a time when their income has been drastically reduced. Of the 1,000 retail forecourt locations in the Republic, eighty percent are owned and operated by sole traders and family businesses.


Without rate relief at this critical time, many of these businesses will not survive and this will lead to closures. Any closures during this crisis will reduce fuel supply availability to front line workers and services and cripple rural Ireland. We have asked the Ministers to swiftly introduce a local authority rates relief package and to ensure the Irish forecourt sector is included in any plan to protect jobs and family businesses in rural Ireland”, added David.

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IPRA ask TD’s to support the setting up of a rates forum…

31st January 2020
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Dear Deputy

Revaluation 2017

You may be aware from the media coverage or contact with retail forecourt operators in your own constituency that there are serious ongoing issues with the current valuation process.

The revised commercial rates system has been in place now since 2017 and is currently undertaking the final phase, being phase 3 of the revaluation.

The Irish Petrol Retailers Association (IPRA) is the trade association for independent motor fuel retailers in Ireland. Our sector employs over 100,000 people and as many of our retailers are family businesses there are over 250,000 people dependent on the survival of this sector. Many of these are located rurally. We have major issues with the current commercial valuation system as it:

  • treats the shop portion of service stations unfairly in comparison to convenience stores and supermarkets;
  • demands financial data from service stations to calculate their valuation and bases the valuation of convenience stores and supermarkets solely on size (not turnover like service stations);
  • has been amended by the Valuation Office (showing the methodology was clearly incorrect to start with) following Phase 1 of the revaluation (phase 3 recently commenced) and these concessions do not apply retrospectively to those revalued under Phase 1.         

We believe the methodology designed and used by the Valuation Office for calculating the commercial rates payable by service stations is incorrect and unfair as our retailers are paying far more for the shop element of their service stations when compared with their competitors, being convenience stores and supermarkets local to them.

A short example is a 500M radius in Edenderry. Aldi has been valued at 114K, Lidl €161,300, Tesco Superstore €315K and yet the local service station (Mangans c.400sqm) has been valued at €145,600 (noting that all of these businesses are competing for the same customer footfall).

Interestingly, within this 500m radius a Tesco service station has been valued at €31,500. Given that Mangans is by far the smallest floor space (Tesco is the largest at c.5000sqm – over 12 times the size of Mangans) with a turnover a fraction of the multiples included here there is no way that anyone can claim that this system treats independently owned service stations fairly. This example is sadly, not unique.

As a trade association, our Members are not against paying rates but we do want a system that is fair and equitable and does unfairly penalise our sector. After 3 years of discussions with the Valuation Office and being dismissed repeatedly by Minister of State Phelan the IPRA was left with no choice but to involve DG Competition who are currently reviewing this issue from a state aid perspective.

We are writing to all Oireachtas members asking for their position on this issue so we can advise our Members in their respective constituency as this may influence their choice of candidate.

Please advise by return to so we can advise our members;

Do you support the setting up of a Rates Forum in order come up with a fair Rating system for all ratepayers? We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience and are always available to discuss this or provide further information

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Petrol retailers take their disagreement about rates increases of up to 500% to the Taoiseach

17th January 2020
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The trade body representing the forecourt sector, the Irish Petrol Retailers Association (IPRA) have today written to Leo Varadkar asking him to intervene in the dispute between petrol retailers and the valuation office. The association is concerned at the disparity in the current rating revaluation which has seen some retailers hit with increases of up to 500% when supermarkets and retail shops in the same areas are being levied with much lower increases.

David Blevings, spokesperson for the IPRA said, “The way valuations are calculated for a retail forecourt compared to a stand-alone shop/convenience store is completely different and we believe incorrect. A convenience store or supermarket is valued purely on useable floor space while service stations are valued on turnover. A retail forecourt is basically a supermarket with the add on of fuel pumps. A forecourt must submit turnover information to the Valuation Office and this is not a requirement for supermarkets; we want to know why forecourts are effectively being penalised”.

As an industry body the IPRA have lobbied on this issue with numerous TD’s, Government Ministers and the Valuation Office.  However, after three years of discussions with the Valuation Office and being dismissed repeatedly by Minister of State Phelan the IPRA feels they have no choice but to involve the European Commissions’ Competition Authority who are currently reviewing this issue from a state aid perspective.

“While talk about establishing a task force was welcomed we have not seen any evidence of the task force being established while our Members are levied with substantially increased rateable valuations that could see some businesses closing. No one is against paying rates but any system must be fair, transparent and equitable. We are calling on An Taoiseach to get involved as we believe the current system could be deemed anti-competitive and penalises retailers and favours supermarkets which is grossly unfair to local family owned businesses”, added David.

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IPRA gives cautious welcome to Budget 2020

8th October 2019
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The Irish Petrol Retailers Association (IPRA) has given a cautious welcome to the Finance Ministers decision to increase carbon tax by €6/tonne of CO2

David Blevings, Media Spokesperson for the IPRA said, “The increase is not a surprise given the ambitions of the Government’s Climate Action Plan. The rise is modest and will result in about 1cpl increase in prices at the pumps. The good news is that as predicted last month by IPRA, global oil costs have reduced post the Saudi spike on 16th September.

We further welcome the fact that the duty equalization of petrol and diesel did not occur – this is in line with IPRA submission to the Minister as it would impact most on the rural communities who use private transport, mainly diesel to get from A to B.

Our Members are local businesses who provide a valuable local service and are engaged in climate change and the role they have to play in the transition to a lower carbon economy.

Given the proposed evolution to electric vehicles they would like to see increased revenue from the carbon tax ring fenced to subsidise the purchase of EV’s and fund quick chargers for retail sites to assist this change. In addition, many retailers are ready to embrace E10 in petrol to further reduce emissions in transport,” added David.

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