Petrol sales fall despite price cut
Plunging prices at the pumps have failed to arrest the slide in petrol purchasing.
Petrol sales in October 2014 fell when compared with October 2013 despite pump prices falling more than 8p a litre over the 12-month period, Government figures highlighted today by the AA showed.
The statistics also showed that petrol sales for the first 10 months of this year have fallen 20% compared with the same period five years ago.
"Price spikes and high fuel duty levels have forced drivers to cut back on car use for so long that the habit has stuck," said AA president Edmund King.
Petrol sales did, at least, rise a little in October compared with September 2014.
But October 2014 sales, when petrol averaged 124.55p a litre, totalled just under 1.48 billion litres, compared with nearly 1.49 billion litres in October 2013 when average prices were more than 133p a litre.
Diesel consumption, contrastingly, has risen - going up 2.2% in October 2014 and up 11% in the first 10 months of this year compared with the same period five years ago.
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Mr King said: "It is tempting to attribute the petrol slump solely to car owners switching to diesel vehicles and the better miles-per-gallon of more fuel-efficient engines generally.
"But with a third more diesel cars than four years ago, diesel consumption would be expected to be much higher.
"Official traffic statistics indicate that journeys have only properly recovered in the commercial sector, particularly for vans and other light good vehicles.
"Car traffic is still 0.6% lower than in 2009 - despite there being 802,000 more licensed cars on the UK's roads."
He went on: "Although fuel duty is frozen until the end of this parliament, what follows after next year's election becomes the next big question.
"Clearly, family and businesses continue to struggle financially to such an extent that they are not doing the mileages they used to.
"Although fuel duty income has suffered, any hint of an increase in Wednesday's Autumn Statement or political manifestos next year will get short shrift from those who rely on cars and other vehicles to go about their daily lives."
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