Fuel sales at petrol stations during the first 10 months of the year were significantly down compared to 2019, the decline attributed to the coronavirus-related restrictions on movement.
Latest data published by the Statistical Service show that from January to October, petrol stations sold 516,700 tonnes of fuel, compared to 570,400 tonnes in the same period last year.
The fuels in question relate to motor vehicles and lubricants; they do not include aviation or shipping fuel.
Sales of unleaded 95 came to 212,377 tonnes, a 15.7 per cent drop on the same period of 2019; and diesel sales by volume fell by 6.7 per cent to 215,545 tonnes.
Online news outlet Stockwatch quoted Dinos Lefkaritis, CEO of Petrolina, as saying that petrol stations have taken a financial hit due to the coronavirus restrictions. At this stage, however, his company would not be sacking any staff.
According to Lefkaritis, the overall decline in sales was offset by the fact that motorists can no longer travel to the north to fill up their cars – again, owing to the coronavirus situation.
In recent years petrol stations had been losing revenues due to competition from the north, where fuel is cheaper.
An estimated 18 per cent of motor vehicle fuel consumption was done in the north.