Petrol consumption falls to a record low in January as fuel prices rise

Lian Parsons
Higher petrol costs mean less traffic... right?
Higher petrol costs mean less traffic... right? (Source: Getty Images)

UK petrol consumption dropped to its lowest on record in January, according to figures released by HM Revenues and Customs today.

UK drivers used a total of 1.35bn litres of petrol, down one per cent from the same month last year and 12.7 per cent down on five years ago.

Read more: Four of the UK's biggest supermarkets have cut petrol prices

Diesel consumption also dropped 5.6 per cent to 2.1bn litres from 2.3bn litres.

In 2016, petrol consumption was down 1.3 per cent to 17.1bn litres from 17.3bn litres.

Petrol pump prices rose above 120p per litre for the first time since December 2014, causing drivers to cut back on fuel consumption and putting consumers off driving.

A survey conducted by Populus last month of 20,055 Automobile Association members found that 24 per cent of respondents are restricting their car use and 14 per cent are cutting back on other spending to balance out the higher fuel costs.

Read more: Rapidly rising petrol costs are putting consumers off driving

Luke Bosdet, from the AA, said:

Better fuel efficiency is one reason for lower petrol consumption, although new petrol cars outnumbered new diesel cars by 2.6 per cent last year and still petrol consumption continues to fall.

However, the highest pump prices since December 2014 have taken their toll.

“The same is happening in the US, where petrol consumption is down more than 2 per cent than a year ago," he added. "There is breaking point for consumer budgets when the cost of road fuel rises and, in the UK, 120p a litre or more seems to have found it.”

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