Sharp drop in forecourt petrol sales

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Sharp drop in forecourt petrol sales

Petrol sales have fallen a sharp 20 per cent over the last five years, according to figures released by the AA.

In 2012, 17 billion litres were sold, compared to 22 billion in 2007.

The steep rise in fuel prices has put pressure on motorists to switch to more economical cars. This and improvements in engine efficiency across the board are large contributors to the fall in sales.

Also causing an impact is the continued rise in popularity of diesel fuel. Diesel cars made up 47.4% of new car sales in March, with drivers tempted by the perceived greater fuel economy it brings.

However, the gains can be negligible when compared to the higher price of both diesel cars and the fuel itself, particularly for drivers covering less miles around town.

Despite sales of diesel fuel rising over the same period, from 14 billion litres to 16 billion, overall there has been a nine per cent drop in the total amount of fuel sold nationwide.

Speaking to the BBC, 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."

AA president Edmund King predicted that sales would continue to fall, given soaring pump prices being exacerbated by speculation on future oil demand: "The trouble is that, with global economic recovery, the stock market will predict greater oil and fuel demand and push up commodity values accordingly.

"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?"