Fuel sales boosted by panic purchasing

The UK's fall in petrol sales came to a halt due to motorists' frantic purchasing earlier in the year.

Research from the AA also stated that with prices so high motorists reduced their consumption and this lessened the effect of the panic buying.

Considering all the factors influencing consumption, the frenzied purchasing between January and March only added three days' extra volume to petrol and diesel sales.

According to figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, petrol consumption went up 2.85% between January and March this year when compared with the first three months of 2011. Although the 2012 figures were 16.64% lower than the 2008 figures - before the recession.

During the first three months of the year diesel sales went up 7.87% compared with the same period of last year but when compared with the period in 2008 they were still down 5.49%.

Edmund King, AA president, said: "These new retail sales figures show that UK drivers spent £384 million extra on petrol and diesel during the panic buying of the last four days in March.

"To some extent, that will have continued going into April. But, with petrol prices only 1.8p a litre off the all-time high in mid April (142.48p), drivers were hammered by high prices and unnecessary panic."

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