One in three motorists in the UK (one in five in Europe) are reducing their car journeys in order to slash their fuel

spend, according to research from Datamonitor. The trend, driven by the global financial crisis and high pump prices, has led to a shift in consumer behaviour, testing the resilience of the fuel retail sector. The research also concludes that supermarkets, yet again, are gaining ground on their oil company competitors.

Across Europe as a whole, the measures consumers are taking to reduce fuel spend ares: 14% are switching to supermarket fuel retailers; 5% are using public transport more; 4.9% are combining multiple shops into one; 3.7% are leaving home less and buying fewer goods overall; 1% are shopping more online.

Alex Jeater. retail analyst at Datamonitor, said: "The global financial crisis, coupled with periods of high fuel prices, have led to a reduction in the number of car journeys undertaken as consumers have become more cautious.

"While a reduction in car usage is bad for the industry as a whole, our research suggests that supermarkets are, yet again, gaining from motorists adopting a more cautious approach to fuel spend, as they are looking to fill up at the cheaper sites."

The study reinforces this point as 14% of consumers (rising to a third in the UK) have reported switching to supermarkets for their fuel partly due to price.