For the fourth quarter running, diesel sales slumped in the second quarter of 2009 relative to the same period one year previously. A downturn of this magnitude only occurred once in the past. Diesel fuel sales in the first six months of this year were 7 percent down on the same period in 2008. In absolute figures, this means that petrol stations sold 3.8 billion litres of diesel instead of 4.1 billion litres in the first six months of 2008.
Diesel fuel sales
Four subsequent quarters of falling diesel sales occurred only once, i.e. in 1982, when the economy was also in recession. Statistics Netherlands has surveyed the volume of diesel fuel annually consumed in the Netherlands since 1946.
Slump in road transport
Lorries used for transport of goods by road are usually propelled by diesel engines. Turnover of the road transport sector has been in decline since early 2009. The reduced consumption of diesel fuel in the road transport sector largely accounts for the slumping sales. Diesel fuel is also used in private transport.
Turnover goods transport by road
Petrol and LPG gas consumption stable
Contrary to diesel, the volume of petrol and LPG gas sold at petrol stations has remained fairly stable over the latter half of 2008 and the first half of 2009 relative to the same period one year previously. Petrol and LPG are mainly used in private cars.
Sander Brummelkamp and Ram Sardjoepersad