Trend for forecourt closures evens out

After a 20-year period of dramatic reduction in the numbers of forecourts, there were 8,609 forecourts at the close of 2014 which was broadly in line with the 2013 figure of 8,611.

The Energy Institute’s annual Retail Marketing Survey provides a comprehensive, statistical overview of the UK forecourt market; a market that has seen the number of forecourts almost halved since 1994.

Data is broken down by company, region and forecourt facilities. This year’s report is based on statistics relating to end-2014 and does not reflect changes since that date. These figures are collected from an EI survey with fuel retailers and are cross-checked with numbers from market analyst Experian Catalist.

UK consumer fuel prices experienced the same downward trend as the global market, with petrol dropping from an average of 134.88 p/l in 2013 to an average two-year low of 128.18 p/l in 2014, and from 140.74 p/l for diesel to 133.82 p/l.

Total 2014 road fuel sales for the year saw a 1.77% rise from 36mn tonnes to reach 36.64mn tonnes, with diesel sales once again outperforming petrol. Retail petrol sales remained fairly stable at 13mn tonnes by year end (from 12.99mn tonnes at the close of 2013), while diesel sales rose to 15.16mn tonnes (up from 14.09mn tonnes). Meanwhile, the total number of cars on the road rose 1.95% to a record-breaking 35.89mn.
Site number breakdown by fuel retail brand in 2014 (2013 figures in brackets)

BP – led the forecourt branding field, topping the listing with 1,163 outlets (1,174)
Shell  – secured second place, with 1,019 branded sites (1,016)
Esso – close behind, in third position, with 1,012 branded forecourts (1,003)
Texaco – ranked fourth, with 773 outlets (814)
Gulf – fifth, with 508 branded service stations (409)

The supermarket sector accounts for just over 43% of total UK fuel sales

Tesco – 504 sites (498)
Morrisons – 332 (326)
Sainsbury’s – 298 (289)
Asda – 246 (226)

This year’s supplement also includes articles looking at security of fuel supply in the UK and the need for planning to prevent future supply disruption should the number of operating refineries continue to fall. The report examines the latest trends and developments in the fuel retail market, where opportunities for independent forecourt retailers appear to have taken a turn for the better; and how the success of fuel retailers can be defined by the speed at which they respond to changes in the wholesale price of oil.

The 2015 Retail Marketing Survey is available, priced £100, from the Energy Institute. For more information on the downstream sector, including filling stations and retail fuel prices, visit knowledge.energyinst.org/collections/rms

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