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 591.

    "6. plebianbob
    Most (as in all) journeys by car can be done by public transport, walking or cycling. The difference is so marginal that a small rise in the cost of petrol will get people off the roads."

    I drive for an hour to get to work.
    I could in theory make the journey by public transport, at significantly higher cost, and taking over 5 hours each way.

    Bit of a no brainer really (like you!).

  • rate this

    Comment number 590.

    Just now
    At least that's one promise that this dog of an incompetent govt are on the way to fulfilling: "the greenest govt ever". Achieved by pushing people into fuel poverty,
    The coalition stopped the tax rises on petrol actually, Labour introduced the above inflation automatic tax rises, but dont let the truth get in the way.

  • Comment number 589.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 588.

    At least that's one promise that this dog of an incompetent govt are on the way to fulfilling: "the greenest govt ever". Achieved by pushing people into fuel poverty, by imposing economic sanctions on its own people. They didn't promise to tell you how they would do it but they've done it. And they say this govt is out of touch - this proves they are not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 587.

    when I compare international and European fuel prices against that of the uk, I feel sick.
    We have been getting a raw deal for a long time in the uk! BRING BACK DUTY FREE AND CHEAP EUROPEAN TRAVEL!!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 586.

    @547.Bill Walker
    I think it would be a great idea if all vehicles were fitted with an instantaneous petrol consumption readout

    Had one in a car I hired, it was great for improving fuel economy & encouraged smoother driving, much more useful than my cars 'mpg since last filled up'

  • Comment number 585.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 584.

    drivings a waste of time... now those days are from home...or work the system,do as little as possible......scrimp.. save.. flog on ebay,and avoid crazy charges like edinb airport £7 for the drop off zone...drivings a mugs game.I just booked a train aberdeen to hertford for £29 you can get bargains if you shop around.

  • rate this

    Comment number 583.

    "Thankfully we all have choices, I don't want to ride a bike, they're death traps and some of the people who do ride them are brainless idiots. I'll stick to my car thanks."
    Unfortunately the "Weekend-Wiggins" lycra-louts probably own a car as well. Given the potentially lethal antics I regularly see from some of them I dread to think what the're like in their cars...

  • rate this

    Comment number 582.

    I have used nothing but red diesel for the last 7 years and I reckon I have saved the guts of £25,000!

  • rate this

    Comment number 581.

    "Why do we still have gauges in cars that display petrol usage always do it in miles per gallon rather than miles per litre?"

    LOL shouldn't that be "kilometers per litre".
    Anyway, Citroens do it in either..

  • rate this

    Comment number 580.

    So the greens got their wish - people are spending far more on less fuel!

    Of course, driving at 65 mph, because I can't afford to go at 80 mph because the drop in MPG does mean that I am still on the road for just as long, but at least the greens are happy!

  • rate this

    Comment number 579.

    What Ed doesn't mention is that he lives in a town or city and probably drives to where he starts walking. My nearest bar is 2 miles downhill if I ever go. Nearest town 12 mile away with only 1 out of 3 possible to park in without paying the earth. Nearest train station 6 mile away plus paying to park there. Nearest shops with reasonable prices 2 miles, non-existent buses and rural living.

  • rate this

    Comment number 578.

    Does the AA need to be accused of being out of touch? Claiming that sales have slumped because "greater use of smaller and diesel vehicles had contributed to the fall in consumption" What utter rubbish. No, the fact remains people just haven't got the money to put petrol in their cars and are using other forms of transport or even getting rid of their car altogether or just topping up whenever.

  • rate this

    Comment number 577.

    This seems to be reported as though it were bad news. Isn't it good news - unless you are Chancellor?
    Well added to the freezing of petrol duty increases this will mean that over £15 Billion in duty that could have been collected by 2015 isn't.

    If you buy into the Austerity good (IE Pay frozen) spending bad (IE Benfits cut) nonsense this isn't as brilliant as it looks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 576.

    once the scum realise they cant get any more out of us on petrol...they will tax fresh air ...just to mess you health freaks up.

  • rate this

    Comment number 575.

    petrol prices are unaffordably high and should imagine only those who are still credit worthy can fill a tank.
    The dissappointing thing is transport is very necessary in the Uk, especially ruraly, yet only industry benefits from cheaper fuel but many people use motor vehicles for commuting purposes and should qualify for cheaper fuel!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 574.

    @553.Dr Bob Matthews
    .diesel is not a cleaner fuel than petrol... pressure from the car manufacturers has allowed the the science supported evidence to be swept under the carpet

    not really ignored, used as justification to raise diesel prices here & National Clean Diesel Campaign + Diesel Emissions Reduction Act 2005 in the US - diesel engine designs have improved as result of pressure applied

  • rate this

    Comment number 573.

    less CO2 .... yippee ...........

    a little way to go yet though .......

  • rate this

    Comment number 572.

    and I think Ed Balls would agree that manufacturers should be doing much more, like a mandatory active speed control at 20,30,50,70 to prevent creeping over the limit which is easily done. 56 mph is such a small margin that it would depend on the angle viewing the speedo, and could be prevented easily.
    and a VAT tax break for electric bikes would make it much more attractive.


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