Retailer: We don’t pump up the price

Maple Leaf Garage Principal Dealer Nick Hill NNL-140520-192826009
Maple Leaf Garage Principal Dealer Nick Hill NNL-140520-192826009

A Daventry fuel retailer has revealed he makes less than five pence profit on every litre of fuel sold as support for a campaign fighting for cheaper prices in the town continues to grow.

Nick Hill – dealer principal at the town’s Maple Leaf Garage – also predicted existing Daventry fuel stations could go out of business if a supermarket planned for the old outdoor pool site features a petrol station, as is proposed. Speaking out following the launch of a petition for cheaper fuel by Daventry MP Chris Heaton-Harris, Mr Hill said: “It is not easy to articulate how I feel. It is easy to moan at me or my staff about prices, but delivery drivers bringing us the fuel earn more an hour than I do in profit.

“If a supermarket in town sold at 127.9p I can’t compete – that’s my profit gone.

“I’m not naturally a doommonger, but if a supermarket opens in Daventry I can see what would happen – anybody should be able to see it as they just have to do the maths themselves.

“The future could be one of queueing around the block for one single petrol station in town.”

Unleaded petrol at the Maple Leaf service station on Braunston Road was sold to motorists at 132.9p per litre last Friday.

That same litre – based on the wholesale price, distributor costs and VAT – was bought for 127.45p.

Mr Hill said: “Charging 132.9p a litre we were making 5.45p profit which, after VAT, is reduced to 4.6p gross profit.

“That is before all overheads such as staff, maintenance, bank charges or even people driving off without paying for fuel.

“If there is so much money in petrol, why is there already a derelict service station in Daventry? Why did a service station close in Dodford, another in Weedon and others elsewhere? If you are not selling two million litres a year you close.”

He added: “Supermarkets use fuel as a marketing tool to sell at cost price as their petrol station costs are swallowed up by the main supermarket – Tesco, Morrisons and Asda are now the largest fuel suppliers in the UK.

“I can’t afford to give fuel away, but the complaints we get are tough on the staff.

“We pay minimum wage but the abuse they have to take is not fair – people can be hurtful.”