The sale of gasoline and oil in Iceland has dropped by nearly four percent since spring 2008 due to rising fuel prices.
Icelanders appear to be relying less on their cars for transport and some families share one car instead of using two, which used to be the norm at many homes.
“The reduction is between two and four percent since we first noticed a drop in [fuel] sales in April,” the CEO of oil company N1 Hermann Gudjónsson told Fréttabladid.
Jón Halldórsson, director of the sales department at Olís oil company, said his employees haven’t noticed a drastic reduction in the sale of fuel yet, but expects that to change in the near future.
“Our latest forecast for the following weeks and months is that the sale of fuel will drop to some extent,” Halldórsson said, adding that people have changed their consumption pattern. “People use self-service more often and go to those stations that have no staff.”
Fuel prices in Iceland rose again yesterday. The general price of one liter of gasoline is up to ISK 178.4 (USD 2.18, EUR 1.41) and ISK 173.4 (USD 2.12, EUR 1.37) in self-service at all oil companies except Atlantsolía where the gas liter costs ISK 168.7 (USD 2.06, EUR 1.33) in self-service.
Gudjónsson and Halldórsson agree that two factors are important for reducing fuel prices. “One is reduction in consumption because people won’t accept everything and begin to look for other ways. The other factor is increased production,” Halldórsson explained.
Halldórsson said it appears that Icelanders are finally coming to their senses. “I’ve heard people say that they’ve parked one of their family cars and plan to travel less around the country than in previous summers.”
Halldórsson added that people save the most money on fuel if they simply drive less. “People can save money by filling their tanks when they can get an ISK 2 [USD 0.02, EUR 0.02] or ISK 5 [USD 0.06, EUR 0.04] discount [of one liter of gas] but with every liter that they save by driving less they save ISK 170 [USD 2.08, EUR 1.34].”