Relentlessly high crude oil prices are pushing consumption down in Germany and the UK,whose use of fuel was until recently relatively immune to the economic turmoil elsewhere in the European Union,official data showed.
Worries about the high cost of fuel and its impact on fragile or non-existent growth has led for calls by the United States and some European nations to release reserves to put downward pressure on prices.
An oil price which is floating near all-time highs in euro terms,combined with a supply crunch for oil products which has lifted refining margins sky-high,has pushed imports in Germany sharply lower.
Germany’s foreign trade statistics office said imports of crude oil were down 3.8 percent on the year for the month of July at 8.1 million tonnes.
For January to July imports were 2 percent higher at 52.7 million tonnes compared to 2011.
In the UK,deliveries of motor fuel were down 10.6 per cent in Q2 2012 compared with Q2 2011,data from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) showed,though some of the decline was explained by purchases in March in advance of a treatened strike by tanker drivers.
In the year to June 2012,motor fuel deliveries were 4.3 per cent lower compared with the same period a year earlier,the data showed,which is a slightly bigger decline than the 4 percent annual fall seen since the year 2000,DECC said.
Diesel consumption fell sharply in Spain in July,with demand falling even during what is usually a busy summer driving season as a tough recession hit.
Automobile diesel consumption fell by 6.7 percent in July from the same month a year ago to 1.9 million tonnes,the same amount as in June,data from Spain’s strategic petroleum reserves corporation showed.
In Italy consumption of refined oil products dropped 5.1 percent year-on-year in July to 5.8 million tonnes,data from Unione Petrolifera showed.
Petrol consumption fell 6.7 percent year-on-year to 784,000 tonnes last month,while diesel for road vehicles dropped 5.5 percent to 2.114 million tonnes,UP said in a statement. In the first 7 months of 2011,demand for oil products fell 9 percent year-on-year to 37.728 million tonnes,with petrol demand falling 9.8 percent.