Drivers cut petrol use by 15%, AA research suggests

Man holding nozzle of petrol pump
Image caption The fall in petrol sales cost the Treasury nearly £1bn over the six months to June, the AA reckoned

Drivers have cut their petrol consumption by more than 15% since the credit crunch and the recession.

The AA has calculated that petrol sales in the first six months of 2011 were 1.7bn litres less than in the same period three years ago.

The AA says the drop in petrol sales is a direct result of record fuel prices.

Many drivers are struggling to make ends meet in any case, so the high cost of petrol leaves them with no option but to try to use less.

And businesses have been cutting back as well.

The cut in fuel purchases, comparing the first six months of this year with pre-recession levels, is equivalent to 40,000 delivery rounds by fully-laden petrol tankers.

One result has been lower emissions of potentially damaging exhaust fumes.

Another, says the AA, is that the fall in sales has deprived the Treasury of nearly £1bn in fuel duty between January and June this year.

Supermarkets have tried to attract drivers looking for bargain fuel, but hundreds of other petrol stations have gone out of business.

However, Tesco reported on Wednesday that high petrol prices had hit people's spending power so far this year.

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