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UK forecourt numbers continue to fall

19 March 2012

The latest Retail Marketing Survey, conducted by the Energy Institute (EI), shows that the number of forecourts in the UK continued to decline over the past year, falling to just 8,480 sites – down from 8,892 outlets in 2010. This is compared to 1967's all-time high of 39,958 forecourts.

The number of forecourts in the UK fell to 8,480 sites in 2011, down from 8,892 in 2010
The number of forecourts in the UK fell to 8,480 sites in 2011, down from 8,892 in 2010

The Retail Marketing Survey, published with the EI’s March issue of Petroleum Review, provides a comprehensive, statistical overview of the UK forecourt market. Data is broken down by company, region and forecourt facilities. The survey is based on statistics relating to end-2011 and does not reflect changes since that date. The figures are cross-checked with numbers from market analyst Experian Catalist.

Key findings of the survey show:
· There were 8,480 operational filling stations in the UK at end-December 2011. 
· Petrol sales totalled 13.86mn tonnes by year-end – down from 15.01mn tonnes at the close of 2010.
· Diesel sales totalled 13.91mn tonnes by year-end – rising slightly from 13.06mn tonnes a year earlier.
· Total 2011 road fuel sales fell slightly to 35.608mn tonnes – down from 36.111mn tonnes in 2010.
· By the close of 2011, unleaded prices had averaged 133.60 p/l (versus 117.16 p/l in 2010); while diesel prices closed the year at an average price of 138.90 p/l (versus 119.51 p/l).
· Registered UK vehicles rose from 34.1mn in 2010 to reach 34.7mn by end-2011, with each forecourt supplying an average of 4,088 vehicles.

Site number breakdown by sector in 2011:
- oil company sites decreased by 209 to 5,310
- main retailer sites increased by 15 to 906
- supermarket sites increased by 27 to 1,316
- smaller retailer sites decreased by 8 to 63
- other unbranded sites decreased by 41 to 885
· 711 sites retail auto-LPG – the largest operators are Shell with 213 sites and BP with 207.

The five largest oil company operations by number of branded forecourts were (2010 figures in brackets):
- BP: 1,178 (1,174) up 4
- Esso: 890 (923) down 34 
- Shell: 845 (886) down 41 
- Texaco: 840 (897) down 57 
- Total: 782 (833) down 51

The 2012 Retail Marketing Survey is available from the Energy Institute. 

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