Britons have responded to rising petrol prices by buying much less fuel at the pumps. According to figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change between January and June this year, 1.7 billion fewer litres of petrol and diesel were sold at UK petrol stations than in the first half of 2008.
As a result of lower sales, the UK Treasury has missed out on £985 million in fuel duty over the half year. The AA say that the huge drop in sales is due in part to record fuel prices. In May the prices for petrol and diesel peaked at 137.43p and 143.04 a litre, respectively, over 24p higher than in 2008.
AA and Populus surveys of the impact of high fuel prices on AA members show that, in April 2008, 64% of them were cutting back on their car use, other non-fuel spending or both. By May 2011, that figure had climbed to 76%.
Edmund King, the AA’s President said: “There is no downplaying the impact of record fuel prices on family’s and other people’s lives. A 1.7-billion-litre drop in petrol sales says just one thing – too many car owners cannot afford these record prices and are losing mobility as a consequence.”