Petrol sales, which were down 2.4bn litres in the first nine months of 2011 compared to 2008, look set to collapse further in 2012, according to a new report by the AA.

A poll of 20,181 members revealed that motorists plan to cut back even more on car use, with nearly 40% saying they will either drive more economically (26%) or drive less often (12%) in 2012.

The response from lower-income drivers indicates how much harder they have been hit by record pump prices. While 37% of professionals and senior managers say they will drive less often or more economically, that rises to 40% for socio-economic groups that include skilled and unskilled manual and service workers, pensioners and the unemployed. A higher percentage of unskilled workers, pensioners and unemployed (14%) will drive less often than top and middle-level managers and professionals (11%).