Fuel sales slide despite lower prices at pumps

PUBLISHED: 14:43 08 April 2014 | UPDATED: 14:43 08 April 2014

Lower fuel prices have not seen drivers going to the pumps more often.

Lower fuel prices have not seen drivers going to the pumps more often.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Reductions in fuel prices have failed to encourage drivers to flock to the pumps, according to government figures.

The figures have been highlighted by the AA, and show that petrol sales fell by 4.2% in the last three months of 2013 compared with the same period in 2012.

Unsurprisingly, the big four supermarkets – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda – were hit hardest with a 4.9% reduction while other retailers saw sales fall 3.6%.

In contrast, from October to December 2013, the average price of petrol in the UK fell from a late summer peak of 138.38p a litre to a low of 130.13p, before hovering around the 131p level for the rest of the year.

Overall, petrol demand in 2013 fell by more than 850 million litres, equivalent to 19 days consumption. Diesel sales fared better in the last three months of last year, rising 2%, with the big-four supermarkets enjoying a 2.8% increase.

AA president Edmund King said: “In 2012, petrol sales recovered when prices fell but not in 2013.

“We think that, having learned to use car travel and fuel consumption as a budgetary lever, UK families reacted accordingly when faced with the threat of a 10% rise in domestic energy costs.

“In December, when we gauged how 17,629 AA members would respond to a power cost surge, 35% said that cutting back on car use was their way to balance spending.”

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