UK consumption of road fuel is growing at the fastest rate for more than a decade as the impact of economic growth and lower prices more than offsets improvements in vehicle efficiency.

Reuters reported that Britain’s motorists consumed 36 million tonnes of motor spirit (petrol) and road diesel in the 12 months ending in March, up from 35.2 million tonnes in the previous 12-month period.

Fuel consumption has been rising since 2013/14 and the increase predates the collapse in oil prices from mid-2014.

However, total road fuel consumption is still about 7% below the pre-recession peak of more than 38 million tonnes set in 2007.

The volume of traffic on the country’s roads has been rising almost 2% per year since the middle of 2013, according to the latest estimates from the Department for Transport, and the number of registered vehicles is growing at well over 2% per year.