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Petrol Consumption Declines

New Zealand’s petrol consumption has fallen, according to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Economic Development.

Energy Minister Pete Hodgson today released the latest edition of the Ministry’s biannual Energy Data File, which contains comprehensive statistics on energy supply, demand and prices up to March 2001.

In recent years petrol consumption has been growing at around 1.8% a year. But overall consumption fell by 2.4% in the year to March 2001. This resulted mainly from a decline of nearly 13% in premium petrol consumption, which accounts for about one-quarter of all petrol sales. Consumption of regular petrol rose by just over 1%.

“Higher prices during the year undoubtedly contributed to the reduction in petrol consumption," Mr Hodgson said. "Petrol use is typically unresponsive to price increases, but this shows the savings possible when people decide to be more careful about how much they use their vehicles.”

Consumption of other liquid fuels increased ¡X diesel by 2%, fuel oil by 11%, LPG by 15% and aviation fuel by 30%. This meant overall consumption of oil products rose by 1.1%.

“A major issue for New Zealand and other developed countries in limiting greenhouse gas emissions is how to constrain growth in liquid fuel use. The moderation in our use of petrol is encouraging, although the continued growth in the use of oil products overall shows the magnitude of the challenge we face.”

The Energy Data File also shows that in the year to March 2001:

- Total primary energy supply, which includes imports of oil and oil products, grew by 1.8% to 806PJ. Total domestic energy consumption for the same period rose by 1.6% to 453PJ.

- Net crude oil imports by volume increased by 5%, while New Zealand's production of crude oil and related products decreased by 8%. New Zealand's self-sufficiency in oil declined to 34% from 37% the preceding year.

- The real value of oil imports (crude and products) increased by 65%, basically as a result of the rise in crude oil prices. This meant the value of oil imports rose from 7.1% to 10.7% of the value of all goods imported by New Zealand.

- Coal production increased by 11% to 3.8 million tonnes. Total utilisation, including exports, increased by about 10%.

- New Zealand gas production by volume rose by 5%, with 77% coming from the Maui field. About 42% was used for petrochemical production, 44% for electricity generation and 14% for commercial and domestic purposes.

- Overall estimated gas reserves of 2273PJ as at 1 January 2001 were about 430PJ or 16% lower than estimated twelve months earlier. This was as a result of production of 230PJ plus a downward revision of estimates.

The data file also covers electricity prices to March 2000. More recent data on residential electricity prices is compiled quarterly from surveys, the latest of which will be available shortly.

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