Petrol sales at record low in March

12:34am Tuesday 6th May 2014

© Press Association 2014

Plunging prices at the pumps failed to prevent petrol sales dipping to their lowest figure on record in late winter this year.

UK drivers bought 1.367 billion litres of petrol in March 2014, according to Government figures highlighted by the AA.

This was the lowest recorded figure, with the previous low point being March 2013 - the coldest March for 50 years - when sales only reached 1.376 billion litres.

While motorist in March 2013 had to battle the elements, they also had to contend with petrol prices of around 140p a litre.

March 2014 was a much warmer month, with prices around the 130p a litre mark.

The poor March figure means that petrol demand has dipped 24.7% in the first three months of 2014 compared with the same period in 2008 just before the recession.

Diesel consumption rose from 2.109 billion litres in March 2013 to 2.230 billion litres in March 2014. But diesel sales for the first three months of this year are only 5% higher than for the same period in 2008 despite a 40% increase in diesel-powered vehicles.

AA president Edmund King said: "Petrol sales have hit their lowest on record when pump prices were at a three-year low, the weather was relatively warm and dry, and the economy was showing signs of recovery.

"This was not the freezing, miserable, 140p-a-litre March of the year before."

He went on: "Either the fear or reality of gas and electricity price surges has triggered an avoid-the-petrol-pump backlash to balance family spending or the trauma of speculator-driven road fuel price spikes over more than three years has seared into the psyche of the UK driving consumer.

"We may find out in the next couple of months as the boilers and heaters are turned off - and drivers look forward to summer motoring and trips out."

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