There has been a 1.6% year-on-year increase in retail and commercial fuel volumes in the last quarter, according to the latest fuel statistics issued by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), driven mainly by record diesel volumes.

Brian Madderson, chairman of the PRA, commented: “Petrol retailers have confirmed that there has been a steady improvement in traffic flow and spend through the year, so we are not surprised by the increase.

“The rapid drop in pump prices, which has been embraced by independent forecourt operators, is good news for motorists and businesses.. It is also good news for the Government who will benefit this calendar year by at least £700m from the extra fuel duty on the increased volumes.”

Madderson continued: “If this Government really wants to demonstrate that they support motorists and businesses, they could now afford to incorporate a cut in duty, within the April 2015 Budget.”

Monthly diesel demand by cars and commercial vehicles in the UK pushed above 2.5bn litres for the first time, reflecting a growth in road traffic driven by light goods vehicles.

However, petrol consumption was up only 19m litres or just 1.3% on the previous month, and below the same month last year.

In November, diesel sales set a new record of 2.501bn litres, up 144m litres or 6.1% compared with October (2.357bn litres) and 64m litres higher than in November 2013 (2.437bn litres).

Diesel pump prices fell from 128ppl at the start of November 2014 to 126ppl by the end. This compares with an average of 137.8ppl in November 2013.

The rise in petrol consumption was much slower, up to 1.498bn litres compared with 1.479 billion in October. Petrol prices in November fell from around 124ppl to 122ppl, nearly 10ppl less than the summer high of 131.70ppl in June.

A year ago, when November petrol prices averaged 130.4ppl, motorists got through 1.523bn litres, latest figures from HM Revenue and Customs reveal. So, despite lower prices in 2014, petrol consumption has fallen.