Big freeze hits sales of petrol
Petrol sales plunged over Christmas as motorists abandoned their cars during the big freeze, official figures show.
Filling stations saw more than a fifth of their trade wiped out during December compared with the same month the year before, according to statistics from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
David Blevings, of the Irish Petrol Retailers Association, said it is another blow for the industry already reeling from price hikes, carbon taxes and levy increases.
"We are not surprised by these figures," he said.
"Our members have been reporting a downturn in sales generally."
Mr Blevings said forecourt owners are also relying more and more on the sales of groceries, coffee and other stock because people are thinking twice about using their car during the downturn.
CSO figures also show an overall 3.6% dip last month in retail sales, when car sales - which were boosted through the scrappage scheme - were taken out of the equation.
Business lobby group Ibec said the bad weather is obscuring the real reaction of shoppers to the Budget and the EU/IMF bailout.