(ANSA) - Rome, July 16 - Italian drivers have cut back so much that fuel consumption has plunged at a rate not seen since Rebel Without A Cause was playing in movie theatres. Not since 1955 has gasoline and diesel fuel consumption fallen so quickly as in the first half of 2012, the Centro Studi Promotor said in a report released Monday. From January to June, gasoline and diesel-fuel consumption dropped by a combined average of 9.7%, said the CSP, an automotive research centre that first began collecting such data in 1955. It blamed the economic crisis for the six-month drop in fuel consumption that included a 10.3% drop in gasoline sales and 9.4% in diesel. Despite lower consumption, higher prices in the first six months of 2012 pushed total spending on gasoline and diesel up by 8.8% to 33.5 billion euros over the period. Tax revenues from fuel consumption also rose by a whopping 18.6% to reach 18 billion euros. The economic crisis is hitting hard, the centre said. "In 2012, therefore, not only car sales are in strong decline (-19.7% for passenger cars in the first half, -37.9% for commercial vehicles, buses and industry from January to May), but also the use of cars and vehicles," the centre said.
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di Giovanni Pastore