Fuel Forecourt Numbers Dwindling

(Thursday 8 March 2012)


According to the 2012 Retail Marketing Survey published by the Energy Institute, there were 8480 fuel forecourts (petrol stations, if you will) in the UK at the end of last year. Twelve months earlier, there were 8892, so on average slightly more than one such outlet was closed every day in 2011.

This is part of a much bigger trend. The record year for petrol stations was 1967. How many do you think there were then, if there are 8480 - or probably slightly less - today. Ten thousand, maybe? No. In 1967 there were 39,958.

Anyway, back to the modern era. The largest fuel retailer in the country is BP, which at the end of 2011 had 1178 outlets, which was actually four more than a year earlier. The next four are Esso, Shell, Texaco and Total, which on average closed around 46 each.

All this was despite there being an extra 600,000 cars on the road, or at least potentially on the road - the number of registered vehicles rose from 34.1 million to 34.7 million.

Mind you, by the end of the year we were buying less fuel than we were at the start - 27.77 million tonnes of petrol and diesel together, compared with the previous 28.07 million. That might have had something to do with average fuel costs, which absolutely skyrocketed fom 117.16p to 133.60p per litre for petrol and from 119.51p to 138.90p per litre of diesel.

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