Motorists are buying less petrol than ever, government figures have revealed. Retail petrol sales for the period January to June fell 5.8 per cent compared with the same period last year – a figure that amounts to 512 million litres.
The AA believes petrol sales in the first six months of 2013 were more than 25 per cent lower than in the first six months of 2008 – just before the credit crunch.
Diesel sales, in contrast, have risen sharply; up 6.6 per cent, or nearly 270 million litres.
AA president Edmund King said: “It would be too easy to blame the collapse of UK retail petrol sales on car-owners switching from petrol to diesel engines.
“These new Government fuel retail sales figures, when set against changes in the number of petrol and diesel cars on the road, show that soaring fuel prices have had by far the greater impact on pump sales since 2008.
“For five years, up to 76 per cent of AA members have cut back on car use, or on other spending or both, to survive petrol pump prices that peaked at 119.7p a litre in the summer of 2008 but then set the current record of 142.48p in April 2012.
“That is why it is critical for pump prices to drop as quickly as wholesale costs allow. The financial well-being and survival of drivers, consumers, business, Government duty revenue and, yes, fuel retailers depend on it.”