Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Petrol Consumption.

asked the Minister for Supplies whether he will reconcile his statement in the Dáil on the 13th May, to the effect that in normal times we consumed on motor transport alone approximately 44,000,000 gallons of petrol in the year, with the figures of petrol imports for each of the years 1932 to 1938 given in the Statistical Abstracts for those years.

I based my statement on the official import figures, which for the 12 months ended 30th September, 1939, amounted to 44,736,950 gallons of motor spirit. Re-exports amounted to 444,886 gallons, leaving net imports 44,292,064 gallons. In addition, approximately 2,000,000 gallons of spirit produced in the Haulbowline refineries and 787,000 gallons of spirit produced in the industrial alcohol factories in the same year should be taken into account in calculating our consumption. The figure of 44,000,000 gallons is, therefore, a conservative figure. As the Deputy will observe from the Statistical Abstract, the imports of motor spirit between the years 1936 and 1938 increased by 5,500,000 gallons. For a commodity like motor spirit, consumption of which was rapidly increasing in the years immediately before the war, normal consumption must be calculated on the basis of actual consumption in the last 12 months before restriction applied.

Arising out of the Minister's reply, was the importation in excess of our normal requirements for the year 1939, the year to which he refers?

I am assuming that the quantity of petrol imported in that 12 months' period, less re-exports, represents our normal consumption in the period.

Can the Minister say whether, in regard to petrol, anything was done by the Department set up for getting in emergency supplies?

There is no provision for storing petrol here beyond a tankage capacity of some 10,000,000 or 12,000,000 gallons.

Was it much greater than in 1937 or 1938?

Oh, it was.