The Energy Institute’s latest Retail Marketing Survey reveals that the number of forecourts in the UK continued to decline over the past year, falling to under 9,000 sites for the first time.

According to the report, there were 8,892 operational filling stations in the UK at end of December 2010. Petrol sales totalled 15.01m tonnes by year-end – a fall of 212,000 tonnes on year earlier levels. And diesel sales totalled 13.06m tonnes – rising by 403,000 tonnes over the past year.

Total 2010 road fuel sales rose slightly to 36.111m tonnes – a rise of 106,000 tonnes on 2009, and 809 sites now retail auto-LPG – the largest operators are BP with 206 and Shell with 166.

BP has the largest number of branded sites with 1,174, down five on the previous year; followed by Esso with 924, an increase of 24 compared with 2009; Texaco with 897, down 102; Shell with 886, down 44; and Total with 833, up 15.