The supermarkets’ share of petrol sales rose to 40.6% last year, while their share of diesel sales increased to 33%.

According to UKPIA’s annual statistical review on the downstream oil industry, supermarkets are the only growing area of the market, with 1,191 supermarket filling stations in the UK.

Overall, about 600 filling stations have been closing each year due to strong competition between fuel retailers. The number of filling stations fell from more than 37,500 in 1970 to 9,382 in 2006.

UKPIA members made gross sales of £69bn in 2005 - an increase on the previous year due to high crude oil prices.

The pre-tax price of major brand petrol in the UK is consistently among the lowest in Europe, about 3ppl below the European average in 2006. Despite this, the price paid by consumers at the pump is one of the highest in Europe, due to the higher levels of duty and VAT. Average petrol pump prices rose in 2006 for the fourth year in a row, reflecting an increase in crude oil price and strong worldwide demand. It was the same for diesel.

Current high fuel prices are forcing up the level of drive-off losses, with an average loss of £30 - a rising trend which is partly driven by rising fuel prices.

UKPIA’s review reveals that overall demand for road fuel remains fairly flat at 49 billion litres (up 3.7% since 1997), split equally between petrol and diesel. Sales of LPG rose rapidly between 2000 and 2006 based on a favourable duty incentive and favourable treatment under the congestion charge.

In 2006/07, UK Bioethanol consumption stood at 107 million litres, up from 90 million litres in 2005 - this represents 0.4% of all petrol sales by volume. Meanwhile, UK biodiesel consumption was 213 million litres, up from 49 million litres in 2005/06 - representing 0.9% of diesel sales by volume.


=== fast facts ===

? Petrol sales have fallen by 24% in volume since the peak of 1990.

? The UK’s nine major crude oil refineries supply 90% of the inland market demand for petroleum products.

? The UK had the fourth largest refining capacity in Western Europe in 2005 at over 1.8 million barrels per day.

? Duty and VAT on road fuels amounted to more than £30bn for the first time last year.