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Amid Ukraine war, Europe reduces petrol demand

The seven biggest consumers of petrol in the EU — Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, and Poland

Notwithstanding the mild winter that Europe has had, the continent has managed to reduce its temperature-adjusted petrol use due to high pricing, public awareness campaigns, and industrial closures.

The seven biggest consumers of petrol in the EU—Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, and Poland—reduced their overall consumption by 22% from October to December of 2022.

Much of this decrease was reportedly due to milder temperatures; between October and December of 2022 compared to a similar timeframe during 2021, the average number of heating degree days in each country decreased by about 16%, Reuters market analyst John Kemp said in his opinion piece.

However, there was also a slight decrease in underlying temperature-adjusted consumption, which can be attributed to consumer backlash against high costs, public relations initiatives to reduce demand, and business closures, he stated further.

The area saw an abnormally warm October in 2022, and none of the big consumer nations made any substantial headway in lowering underlying demand, Kemp added.

However, more progress was being made in reducing underlying usage as the weather got colder in November and December of 2022.

Germany, the primary user in the area, experienced a 5% increase in heating degree days in December 2022 compared to December 2021.

Nonetheless, use per degree day was reduced by 19%, ensuring that the overall consumption was still down by 14% over the previous year.

On the other hand, December was mild in Italy, the second-largest consumer in the region, with 18% fewer degree days.

Nonetheless, the nation also succeeded in cutting consumption by 8% each degree day, resulting in a 24% decrease in overall consumption.

Every nation decreased its temperature-adjusted consumption in December, with reductions ranging from 19% in Germany and Spain to 17% in Belgium and the Netherlands, 13% in Poland, 11% in France, and 8% in Italy.

Energy-intensive businesses, such as those producing chemicals, fertiliser, steel, ceramics, glass, smelters, and greenhouse horticulture, have been under the most pressure to adapt.

Short-time working and plant closures have caused consumption in several industries to drop significantly, leading to significant gas conservation.

The upshot is that savings by electricity producers and families have been relatively small after accounting for the warm winter because the burden is falling so heavily on the industry.

The weather was kind to European nations, and industry bore an excessive amount of the cost of lowering demand.

The following winter might not be as mild, and without a permanent loss of capacity, the industry cannot continue to bear the majority of the demand decrease.

If temperatures return to being more in line with the long-term normal, households may need to reduce consumption even more next winter.

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