Diesel sales soar despite price hike

Austrians bought more diesel fuel in 2010 while the demand for regular car petrol declined year on year.The Federal Mineral Oil Association FVMI announced today (Tues) that Austrian petrol stations and industrial petrol providers sold 7.3 billion litres of diesel petrol in 2010, 3.7 per cent more than the year before. The association also said that 2.4 billion litres of regular car fuel was sold at the same time. It explained this was a 1.7 per cent year on year decrease.Around 57 per cent of the overall 2010 diesel sale volume was registered at the country’s 2,700 petrol stations, according to FVMI. The organisation said the other purchases happened at specialised firms providing industrial businesses with petrol.Austrian petrol station companies have been criticised by car clubs for continuously raising their prices regardless of how strongly trade rates increase on international markets.The budgets of Austrian motorists are burdened stronger than ever before since last month when higher car fuel taxes went into effect.Car club Arbö said it found out that Austria now has one of the highest car petrol taxation rates in Europe as 57 per cent of the price for one litre of normal car fuel and 52 per cent of what drivers have to spend on a litre of diesel are pocketed by the finance ministry.It explained that an average 55 per cent of the price of regular car fuel is handed over to the federal governments of the European Union’s (EU) 27 member countries, while the EU’s average taxation rate for diesel was just 49 per cent.Federal statistics agency Statistik Austria recently revealed that the Austrian inflation rate would have been at a level of 1.6 per cent instead of the registered 2.3 per cent in December 2010 compared to the same month of 2009 had there not been an immense surge in prices for car fuel and other mineral oil products. International studies have however also shown that the average price for car petrol in Austria lies below that of most other countries in Europe.It remains to be seen whether the constant car petrol price hikes will tempt a significant number of Austrian drivers to use public transport services more often or switch to bicycles instead of petrol-guzzling cars. A poll by insurance company Generali showed that only one in 10 motorists could imagine living a car-free life, while recently published figures show that – with 328,563 – more cars than ever were registered in Austria last year.