Massive drop in heating oil consumption last year

Greek households reduced their heating oil consumption by 46.1 percent in 2013 compared to 2012 due to the hike in the special consumption tax, according to data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority’s Family Budgets Survey.

The ELSTAT survey also showed that average monthly spending per household dropped 7.8 percent year-on-year, while a comparison with 2009 shows a 31.3 percent decline. Average monthly spending amounted to 1,509.39 euros, against about 1,627 euros in 2012.

The figures released on Friday also showed that households spent less on fuel, restaurants, transport and telecommunications, among other expenses, but increased spending on medicines, cafes, tobacco and education.

The biggest fall in monthly spending per household was in liquid fuel (17.56 euros), followed by restaurants (14.82 euros) and transport (9.74 euros). These cuts account for 34 percent of the whole spending drop. In contrast, households spent 5.11 euros more on pharmaceutical products and saw a 3.68-euro increase in spending at cafes.

Comparisons with the figures before Greece entered the bailout process are stunning. In 2009 households spent an average of 2,203 euros per month, and the 694.16-euro slide up to 2013 shows the impact that the austerity measures have had during those four years.

ELSTAT figures showed that the largest share of the monthly family budget goes toward food (20.4 percent), followed by housing (13.7 percent) and transport (12.5 percent), while education accounts for the smallest share of spending (3.4 percent).

They also revealed that the austerity measures have had less of an impact on agricultural areas than cities and towns in terms of household spending: The former posted a decline of less than 4 percent, or 49 euros in their monthly spending, which had amounted to 1,249.90 euros in 2013, from 1,298.90 euros a year earlier, while households in cities and towns reduced their expenditure by 122.34 euros on a monthly basis. Households in the countryside spent 21.6 percent less than those in cities.

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