San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica demand for fuel falling fast

Costa Ricans are buying and burning considerably less fuel than last year, according to the nation´s oil authority, which registered a 23 percent drop in demand last month from March 2008.

The fall in demand has been gaining speed throughout the first three months of the year, the National Oil Refinery (RECOPE) said in a press release Wednesday. January saw a 6.28 percent decrease in fuel consumption from the same month in 2008, and February dropped 14 percent. All told, in the first quarter of 2009 oil demand was 15.13 percent below that of first quarter 2008 – down to just under 4.2 million barrels from 4.9 million.

Fueling the fall most was consumption of diesel fuel for the generation of electricity, which plummeted 99.64 percent in March compared with the same month last year. Fuels for ships (IFO) and planes (JET A-1) have also been on the decrease, down 67.58 percent and 31.74 percent in March respectively.

Bucking the trend, however, demand for super gasoline rose 5.86 percent last month from the prior March.

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