Pump in use GettyImages-524036576

Average daily fuel sales shot up the week before last, increasing by 17% compared with the previous week, with consumer anxieties about potential shortages and price rises caused by the war in Ukraine driving demand.

According to the latest statistics from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) average daily sales for the week to February 27 topped the pre-pandemic average for the first time since the panic buying episode last autumn, and for only the fifth week since March 2020.

However, it was only marginally above at 18,160 litres, compared with the pre-pandemic average of 17,740 litres.

As the surge in sales came late in the week there was little time for supplies to respond. Average deliveries were up just 2.2% at 15,770 litres, and this led to a slight decline in average stock levels, down to 39%.

Although there were reports of queues forming at forecourts sales were well below the panic-buying levels between September 23 and October 3 last year, when the daily average was 20,430 litres.

The figures from BEIS are based on end-of-the-day snapshots of petrol and diesel sales and stock levels from a sample of around 4,500 filling stations across Great Britain.

However, the fuel volumes are collected primarily from oil companies, supermarkets and large independent filling stations, and this results in higher daily average figures than if all independent volumes were included.