Shock revision to Government data confirms fuel market massacre

Published 05/08/2013 00:00:00 in Press Releases

Surprising new data from Government confirms that Supermarkets1 now have a much higher share of the UK market for retail transport fuels than previously admitted. The latest combined total for petrol and diesel sees an increase to 46.5% in 2012. This compares with the official total of just 39% for 2011 quoted in the Deloitte study2 and also 39% for 2012 stated in the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) report,3 such figures were clearly far from being accurate.

The statistical data on retail fuel volumes since 2008 has recently been revised on the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) website, after gross reporting errors were uncovered by officials.

Brian Madderson, Chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association, commented “5,000 forecourts have closed since 2000, another 175 closed last year and the independent retailers are continuing to get massacred4 by the aggressive discounting and below cost sales tactics by supermarkets.

“There was considerable complacency evident in the Deloitte and OFT reports which assumed that supermarket’s volumes were levelling off and so the market was steady. However, we warned Government that the 2012 Christie study5 indicated that supermarkets are trying to open up to 50 new forecourts for each of the next four years.”

This data revision indicates that the average hyper sells 12 million litres per year and independents 2 million litres. Thus every new-to-industry opening by a hyper could suck up the entire fuel volume of 6 independent retailers in the local area and jeopardise the business of at least 10 existing forecourts every year if such expansion proceeded. This is will be bad for competition, bad for consumer choice, bad for jobs at local family firms and bad for rural communities.

Madderson advised, “This re-jigging of key market information underpins our members’ real concern that the UK’s energy resilience for retail fuels is at stake. If this situation is allowed to continue, there will be an inevitable acceleration in the number of site closures to more than 300 per year. Thus there will be a severe worsening of supply resilience from fewer sites with low stockholdings. 

“This should ensure that our request to DECC for a round table review of the independent forecourt industry will receive the full attention of Michael Fallon MP, Minister for Energy, in the coming weeks.”



Notes for editors:

1. Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons

2. Deloitte: “Study of the UK petroleum retail market” (14 December 2012)

3. The Office of Fair Trading: “UK petrol and diesel sector – a call for information”  (January 2013)

4. Please click here for article from the Shropshire Star

   Please click here for article from the News & Star

5. Christie + Co: “Petrol Station Planning Applications” (October 2012)


Brian Madderson is available for interview. Please contact the press office.

The Petrol Retailers Association represents some 5,500 independent forecourts which is 60% of the total UK market. A trade association committed to helping members run their businesses legally and profitably adapting to new challenges in the market place.

Rupal Rawal, Communications Assistant
Tel: 020 7307 3412
Mob: 07528 977 157
Press Office direct line: 020 7307 3422
Press Office fax: 020 7307 3406

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