An increase in the price of petrol and diesel in July has caused motorists to ration their petrol use, according to an analysis of official figures by the AA.
The AA found that the total amount of petrol purchased by UK motorists in July was 1.48 billion litres, a drop of eight per cent on June 2013.
This was only 45 million litres more than the record low seen in February this year.
Diesel sales in July, which includes commercial usage, was down five per cent on June to just over 2.21 billion litres.
The reduction in the use of fuel means that the Treasury saw tax income fall by £142 million in July compared to the month before.
The AA said that lower prices in June, when prices stabilised at an average of 134.6p a litre, after rising to 140p over the spring helped push petrol sales to the highest level since November 2011.
However, in July wholesale petrol costs increases caused prices to rise from an average of 133.7p on the last day of June, to 135.8p by the middle of July and up to 137.2p by the end of July.
AA president Edmund King said: "It's staggering that when brilliant weather sent consumers into the shops and gave the UK's retail sector a strong boost, the complete opposite happened at the pumps.
"Not only are petrol sales shadowing the record lows of this winter, but are lower than last July which included a week of Olympics football, opening ceremony and initial events.
"It seems that, as each penny increase registers on fuel forecourt price boards, drivers automatically cut back – even if they're in the mood to spend elsewhere."
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