The latest figures from the Energy Institute’s annual retail marketing survey, published this month, shows an increase in the number of petrol forecourts operating in the UK.

While only a tiny increase – from 9,271 in 2007 to 9,283 in 2008, a rise of 0.13% – a spokesman for the Institute said this may be a blip or a sign the sector has now bottomed out and stabilised.

The figures, however, do not tally with the latest information (UK V4 2008) released by the Catalist UK database, which gives a figure of 9,264 UK sites, compared to 9,443 for the same period last year – a fall of 179 sites. The Catalist figures show there were 5,869 dealers, 2,190 company-owned sites and 1,205 hypermarkets.