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Sales drop as fuel prices hit record

Motorists are driving less and more efficiently as litre of SP95 now costs an average of €1.6664

PETROL prices have hit a new record, with SP95 averaging €1.6664 a litre across France.

As prices have continued to rise since the end of 2011, however, fuel sales tumbled 3.5% in the year to March. Petrol prices in some Paris stations have been above €2 for several months.

Diesel, by a long way the most common fuel in France with 80% of consumption, has also seen its average price rise after a modest fall last week.

It now costs €1.4362 a litre, up from €1.4347 last week, but still far short of the mid-March record of €1.4584.

Only the higher-octane SP98 petrol saw a fall in price: from its record of €1.7121 last week to €1.7095.

This is the second month in a row that fuel sales have fallen - they fell 1.6% in February - and the Union Française des Industries Pétrolières (Ufip) said that if diesel stayed at the same price then it would mean a reduction in sales over the past year of about 1.5%.

The weakness of the euro is pushing prices up. The price of a barrel of Brent crude in London - which is the basis for fuel prices in Europe - is, at $120, still short of its price of $140 in 2008. However, a barrel in 2008 cost €90 and now costs €95.

Ufip said drivers had changed their habits and were driving more efficiently and less often.

This may also be a reason behind the reduction in the 9% cut in road deaths in March following a 25% cut in February.

Meanwhile, a supermarket petrol station at Béthoncourt, near Montbéliard in the Doubs, was inundated with motorists after a vandalised pump meant it was not charging for fuel. A suspicious neighbour called gendarmes after seeing a queue of around 50 cars.
Photo: Walker_M

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