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The cost of fuel Intro Production Trading Refining Tax At the pump
Price of 1 litre of unleaded petrol
Pie chart comparing costs in UK and France
How much oil do we use?
Line chart comparing consumption in different regions
At the pump
By the time oil gets to the petrol station, the price includes the cost of the refined product, tax, distribution, marketing and retail costs - of which the latter make up a tiny fraction.

Since the fuel crisis of 1973, many countries have tried to become less dependent on oil, and have taxed fuel highly. In the 10 years after 1973, oil consumption fell in Western Europe and Japan by more than 2%, and in the United States by 14%. But in the Communist world consumption rose by 40%.

In the last 10 years consumption in Europe has remained fairly stable. The strongest growth in demand for fuel has been in the Asia Pacific region. It has also grown steadily in North America - which has by far the largest per capital consumption of oil in the world.

However, in the former Soviet Union, which has lived through a period of economic upheaval, fuel consumption has fallen sharply in the last 10 years.