Tuesday, November 25, 2014

New Dutch Brand 'Peut' Challenges the Iron Grip of the Ruling Oil Companies

Fed up with the iron grip that the multinational oil companies hold on local petrol stations, Dutch petrol station owners joined forces and established “The Free Pump” (de vrije pomp).

Peut is the brain child of The Free Pump, the Rotterdam-based cooperative that declared war on Shell, Esso en BP. Peut is an Dutch slang for petrol, so it’s a great brand name. The logo however resembles the Pinterest one with an additional petrol drop. That might get them into hot (legal) water!

The petrol station owners that joined Peut are quite verbal about why they made their move: “We are not into air miles, tiger jumps or whatever else. We as petrol station owners want to be entrepreneurs again and be able to be more economic", said Ewout Klok one of the independent petrol station owners.

Peut might come across as a free and independent rebel, but it is still connected to the big brands. The sad truth is that there are only a few companies in the world that trade in fossil fuels. Private label Peut is therefore supplied by multinationals such as Shell, Esso or (in this case) Argos.

"The multinationals produce so much that they have to trade excess supply in the free market. Independent petrol stations utilize that free market for buying fuel. The independent petrol stations therefore profit from this," explained Aad Correljé, energy specialist at the Clingendael Institute and the Delft University of Technology. "One could compare it with a major brand vs. private label."

The Independent Petrol Station Owners want to conquer the Netherlands. Under the Peut brand, they are planning to operate 300 pump stations nationwide within 5 years. The Peut crowd plans to jointly purchase fuel via the cooperative The Free Pump.

All in all, 100 entrepreneurs and 200 petrol stations are planning to join Peut as soon as their current contracts with the major oil companies expire. Not a bad start! Let’s see how it will pan out…

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