Motorists are increasingly rationing journeys as steep petrol prices continue to bite.
Almost 500 million fewer litres of petrol sold between April and June than in the same period last year, the Department of Energy and Climate Change statistics show, despite a temporary dip in price.
That was a fall of more than 10 per cent on the previous period – effectively meaning one in 10 journeys were not being made – and shows how Britain’s motorists are increasingly feeling the pinch.
Since June a new wave of price rises has come into effect, so the picture could be even bleaker.
The problem is exacerbated in rural areas such as large parts of the West, where viable alternatives to cars are often thin on the ground due to the distance to shops and services and the irregular nature of public transport in the countryside.
Filling the average 50-litre tank of a family car costs in the region of £70 and a survey earlier this year suggested families were spending more on fuel than they were on food.