Pump Sales Slump Amid Summer Price Hike
A surge in pump prices led to last month's petrol and diesel sales crashing to winter levels, according to a motoring group's analysis of Government figures.
The AA said drivers bought nearly 1.48 billion litres of petrol in July 2013 - an 8% fall on the June 2013 figure.
This was only 45 million litres more than the record low in February this year and just 11 million litres more than the January 2013 total.
July 2013 sales of diesel were down 5% on June's, dropping to just over 2.21 billion litres. These figures include commercial usage.
The AA added that in June 2013, when the average cost of petrol levelled at 134.6p a litre after surging to 140.0p in the spring, stable lower prices lifted petrol sales to a level last seen in November 2011.
But last month, a sudden 5p-a-litre rise in wholesale costs raised the average pump price from a low of 133.7p on the last day of June to 135.8p by the middle of July and 137.2p by the end of the month.
It finally started to level off at 137.6p in the first week of August.
Tax income from duty on petrol and diesel sales fell £142m in July compared to June and £35m compared to July 2012, the AA said.
Its president Edmund King added: "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."
He went on: "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."
Meanwhile, a survey of more than 13,500 motorists by What Car? has ranked car dealerships by the service they give owners.
Jaguar, Lexus and Honda topped the list while Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Chevrolet were at the bottom.
Popular makes such as BMW and Audi were in the middle of the 27 marques ranked.
Whatcar.com editor Nigel Donnelly told Sky News: "People have a perception that main dealer pricing can be on the steep side but what we are finding is that dealers now appreciate that retaining that next sale is making sure people have a good experience.
"If you use independent dealers you really want to be make sure they are using quality parts, correct oils and a proper breakdown of what has been done to the car.
"For most people, if it looks like the garage can't look after itself it probably can't look after your car."