Petrol sales down

Good news for the environment: motorists bought one billion litres of petrol less in the first three months of this year than they did from January to March 2008.

It's doubtful though that this is due to pangs of conscience that we're using up the world's natural resources, but is instead an attempt by drivers to save money, as they try to keep up with increased food prices, more VAT and a freeze in wages.

From January to March 2011, petrol service stations sold 835 litres of petrol – 247 million litres less than in the corresponding period three years earlier.

Edmund King, AA president, said: 'The full impact of higher VAT, unbridled stock market speculation and a weaker pound on fuel prices and drivers' ability to afford them have been laid bare.

'The first three months of this year saw the equivalent of 13.5 days of UK petrol sales wiped out – good for the environment but appalling for families, business, rural communities and the Treasury.'

He continued: 'Our study shows the real impact of record pump prices. Petrol and diesel prices continued to set new records up until the second week of May, adding a further 4.3p a litre to the cost of petrol and 3.3p to diesel.

'However, supermarkets have launched a sustained campaign of fuel-related promotions and, combined with a loss of appetite among oil market speculators leading to falling oil prices, the next quarter's figures will be significant. Will drivers' finances show some resilience or have car-owning family budgets been so badly wounded that recovery needs a far greater stimulus?' he added.

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