Big Freeze hits petrol sales
Petrol sales plunged over Christmas as motorists abandoned their cars during the big freeze.
Official figures show that filling stations saw more than a fifth of their trade wiped out during December compared with the same month the year before.
David Blevings, of the Irish Petrol Retailers Association, said it was 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 were also relying more and more on the sales of groceries, coffee and other stock, because people were thinking twice about using their car during the downturn.
Latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) also show an overall 3.6pc 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 was obscuring the real reaction of shoppers to the Budget and the EU/IMF bailout.