Friday, 8 July 2011

DRIVERS bought one billion fewer litres of fuel at the start of this year compared to the same period in pre-recession 2008, Britain's biggest motoring group says today.
The Automobile Association (AA) blames the 15.2 per cent fall in petrol sales and 6 per cent reduction in sales of diesel on high pump prices prompting motorists to drive less.

Petrol sales also fell by nearly 4 per cent in January to March compared to the same period last year, although diesel sales increased slightly, UK government figures show.

Consumer watchdogs warn the decline will put further pressure on the viability of remaining rural filling stations. The AA says the sales cut in the first three months of this year has also deprived the Treasury of almost £640 million in tax - nearly as much as the annual loss it predicted.

Petrol has increased by nearly 8p a litre and diesel by more than 10.5p in the first three months of this year. It reached 136.07p and 139.77p respectively in the AA's latest monthly fuel price report.

President Edmund King says: "The full impact of higher VAT, unbridled stock market speculation and a weaker pound on fuel prices has been laid bare. The first three months of the year saw the equivalent of 13.5 days of petrol sales wiped out - good for the environment but appalling for families, business, rural communities and the Treasury."

The AA, which has 15 million members, attributes the 0.5 per cent increase in diesel sales to firms closing their own fuel depots to save money and switching to forecourts instead.

Consumer Focus Scotland deputy director Trish McAuley said of the figures, released today: "High petrol and diesel prices in Scotland have made life difficult for people in rural areas who rarely have access to the public transport that people in cities enjoy.

"These statistics are particularly worrying for people who rely on rural filling stations. As their revenues drop, the viability of these businesses, which is often borderline at best, suffers. Without easy access to a filling station in their community, people in remote rural areas have to travel further - and use up more fuel - to fill their tanks."

Neil Greig, policy and research director of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: "This is just the latest in a set of indicators all showing downward trends in traffic, new car sales, speeding and now fuel sales.

"The impact of the recession is really starting to show. There have been substantial road safety benefits from these trends, but the impact of running older cars and cutting maintenance may lead to more pollution.

"The future for smaller petrol stations in Scotland also looks bleak, as drivers are clearly willing to go out of their way for cheaper fuel and ignore the service on their doorstep."

Environmental campaigners said ministers must take more of a lead to reduce transport's oil dependence.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...