The number of forecourts in the UK continued to decline over the past year, falling to just 8,480 sites, according to the latest Retail Marketing Survey, conducted by the Energy Institute (EI).

The figure is down from 8,892 outlets in 2010, and compares to a 1967 all-time high of 39,958 forecourts.

The Retail Marketing Survey data is broken down by company, region and forecourt facilities, and is based on statistics relating to end-2011 and does not reflect changes since that date. The figures are cross-checked with numbers from market analyst Experian Catalist.

Other key findings of the survey show that petrol sales totalled 13.86mn tonnes by year-end – down from 15.01mn tonnes at the close of 2010 – while diesel sales totalled 13.91mn tonnes by year-end – rising slightly from 13.06mn tonnes a year earlier. Total 2011 road fuel sales fell slightly to 35.608mn tonnes – down from 36.111mn tonnes in 2010.

By the close of 2011, unleaded prices had averaged 133.60ppl (versus 117.16ppl in 2010); while diesel prices ended the year at an average price of 138.90ppl (versus 119.51ppl).

Registered UK vehicles rose from 34.1m in 2010 to reach 34.7m by end-2011, with each forecourt supplying an average of 4,088 vehicles.

Oil company sites decreased by 209 to 5,310; main retailer sites increased by 15 to 906; supermarket sites increased by 27 to 1,316; smaller retailer sites decreased by eight to 63; and other unbranded sites decreased by 41 to 885.

There are now 711 sites retailing LPG – the largest operators being Shell with 213 sites and BP with 207.

BP was the only major oil company to increase its network – by four sites to 1,178. Esso is down 34 to 890; Shell down 41 to 845; Texaco down 57 to 840; and the Total brand was down 51 to 782.