Petrol pump sales decrease over five years, says AA

Car being filled up at a petrol station The AA said more people were driving diesel or smaller petrol vehicles

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Forecourt sales of petrol have plunged by more than 20% in five years, the AA has said.

The motoring organisation said official government figures showed 17 billion litres were sold last year compared to 22 billion in 2007.

The AA said rising prices and greater use of smaller and diesel vehicles had contributed to the fall in consumption.

Combined with an increase in the sale of diesel, total vehicle fuel sales fell by 9% over the past five years.

The AA said the decrease was the equivalent of 35 days of business being lost since the start of the economic crisis.

Diesel sales increased from 14 billion litres in 2007 to 16 billion litres in 2012.

More recently, petrol sales decreased from 18.27 billion litres in 2011 to 17.42 billion litres last year.

'Huge toll'

Petrol Retailers Association chairman Brian Madderson said: "It's amazing to think that just four years ago, in spring 2009, petrol was £1 a litre. For £20 you could get 20 litres. Today when you spend £20 at the forecourt you get less than 15 litres.

Promo for fuel price calculator

"In 2000, 10% of new cars were diesel. Last year, over 50% of new cars were diesel and with that kind of change, and motorists cutting back on discretionary spending we do see right across the UK petrol sales in steep decline."

AA president Edmund King said: "Greater take-up of diesel cars and smaller petrol vehicles has contributed to this overall decline in UK fuel sales over the long term.

"However, soaring pump prices have taken a huge toll on petrol sales more recently - during the 10p-a-litre price surges last March and October, pump sales of petrol fell by up to 5%."

"The trouble is that, with global economic recovery, the stock market will predict greater oil and fuel demand and push up commodity values accordingly.

He added: "Drivers' fuel consumption and retail survivability are already precarious. What will happen when the speculators pump themselves up with bullish sentiment and send prices soaring yet again?"

The AA highlighted figures produced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 411.

    Where Am I - 366 - Have you not seen the size of our oceans.

  • rate this

    Comment number 410.

    "Most (as in all) journeys by car can be done by public transport, walking or cycling."

    Sorry, but that's not true. There is no public transport between my home and my place of work. Instead I am forced to spend several hours a day commuting by car. I would give anything to be able to spend that time reading on a train or having a quick nap. Instead it feels like time wasted.

  • rate this

    Comment number 409.

    Here in East Devon the cost of fuel doesn't deter folk from unnecessary vehicle use, like taking doggy to a nice place for walkies, or the kids less than a mile to school. Nobody, private nor commercial, seem able to turn off their engines in traffic jams, buses stand at termini for ten minutes or more belching smoke, whilst drivers have a fag. Waste and pollution. Who cares?

  • rate this

    Comment number 408.

    feedbackloop@386. "...exactly and as it increases the cost of everything else including food the poor wont be able to afford to eat either."

    Blame car over dependency for starvation and the poor suffering.
    Some news... Retail parks, supermakets and employers have created the dependency on car use, that has led to village shops and local shops closing etc. Your villain is the car.

  • rate this

    Comment number 407.

    fortunately we live near where we work......we buy £20 of petrol a week, once that's gone, we walk....period.

  • rate this

    Comment number 406.

    I moved back to a diesel some 4 years ago. Recently, I've practiced economy driving, and can usually achieve 53mpg around town and 60+ on the motorway. I've probably reduced average speed by 5mph, and there is a need to be careful with the weight of your right foot when pulling away. And I'm not conscious of getting in the way of other drivers - perhaps they're all economizing as well?

  • rate this

    Comment number 405.

    @396 How are you mate?

    I agree with you about hydrogen. People forget the airship disasters of the 1930's. Hydrogen is so flammable as to be hugely unsafe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 404.

    Joined up thinking needed by Govt.

    -up to 10% rises on train prices
    -Petrol at £1.40 per litre
    -High unemployment, huge youth unemployment
    -Less incentive for people to work just to pay to get there.

    I wish politicians could understand the way things are actually linked.

  • rate this

    Comment number 403.

    LPG 76p a litre at my local BP station. Saved me loads so far,

  • rate this

    Comment number 402.

    There might be less petrol sold but look at the number of diesel cars on the road now. Diesel is far more polluting than petrol and not even the extra miles per gallon is a reason for keeping to diesel. But then the motorist never was concerned about fellow beings. Just how they can get from A to B with the least amount of hassle. Perhaps if they smelt their own pollution they'd change. Nah!

  • rate this

    Comment number 401.

    389 Donkzilla
    "Storage mass is also an insurmountable barrier."

    It is one of the biggest problems with hydrogen fuel. Whilst petrol can be contained in a thin metal tank, hydrogen requires really heavy-duty cylinders in order to contain the pressure; a big problem for fuel economy & transporting it to fuel stations. It's also a difficult gas to compress efficiently. Not such a wonder fuel.

  • rate this

    Comment number 400.

    fuel prices are ridiculously high in comparison to the world here in the UK - 3rd highest i believe... but this is where the Government get a lot of money - approximately 65p PER POUND we spend!!! this is true. that i'm sure is why fuel is so expensive. Recuperating some of the deficit. what a joke. I moved house last year as it was costing me almost £500 per month to travel back & fore work!

  • rate this

    Comment number 399.

    We have changed both our cars to smaller Fiat Pandas. £30 tax a year and over 70mpg. Its all about cutting costs where you can. Shopped around for everything inc utilities and now saved over £2000 a year!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 398.

    374. NotMeHonest: The answer is that employers don't tust their staff enough to let the majority work from home, believing we are shirkers (the working equivalent of 'Benefit Scoungers'). While this attitude prevails people will be prevented from being able to work as you do. Count your blessings.

  • rate this

    Comment number 397.

    Watch this space people once the government finds it isn't getting enough tax from fuel they will start taxing cyclist and also make it compulsory to have road insurance,its coming don't worry!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 396.

    Those recommending the use of hydrogen should bear in mind that it is VERY dangerous stuff. We used to use it at work and most of it used to leak away (very small molecules so it can get through anything). You can't smell it and it is explosive in almost any gas/oxygen ratio, so if it leaks in your garage or an underground car park - BANG!
    Oh and it burns with an invisible flame, lovely stuff.

  • rate this

    Comment number 395.

    385 BeachyHed

    How did that Airbus A380 with engines made of lego bricks get through DO178B? ;-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 394.

    Now that's interesting ... Law of Economics states ... in Free Market Economy, when demand drops, and supply stays the same/increases, prices go down (to increase demand)

    Demand has dropped by 20%, while prices have increased by 20%
    I think you've missed the point. Demand dropped because of prices rises as we'd expect, it wasnt caused independently as you've suggested.

  • rate this

    Comment number 393.

    Its around £90.00 to fill my car up with diesel. How much is tax around £40.00 now who is ripping me off its not the oil companies is it! I don't accept this as a green tax either that's a very useful excuse to raise tax, if we all stopped using our cars tomorrow the government would tax custard. because its yellow and an unacceptable colour and high in sugar. Can we have a useful government!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 392.

    I replaced my Ford Fiesta with an electric car. Now, we use it for everything from school runs, grocery shop, commute to work etc. As a result our diesel MPV only gets used for long journeys as the EV has a range of about 90 miles. We have saved a fortune on fuel and less visits to the fuel pump!


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