19 June 2020

Fuel demand in the UK is staging a gradual recovery after hitting record lows at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown measures during April and May, but it remains well below normal levels for this time of year.

Britain’s road fuel sales rose 3.2% in the week to Sunday 14 June (an average of 11,717 litres per filling station) but remain at 66% of levels in a typical pre-lockdown week, government data showed.

“Experimental” data from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy also shows samples sales of gasoline and diesel from about 4,500 filling stations across the country.

In the eight weeks March 23, when the lockdown to stem the spread of the new coronavirus was introduced, average daily road fuel sales were at 17,690 litres per filling station.

In the 12 weeks from March 23, average sales stood at 8,510 litres, 48% of average levels of the eight previous weeks, according to the data.

Figures released by the HMRC this week show that UK petrol and diesel sales fell by 48% during April and May as road traffic reduced due to the lock-down period.

Government road fuel tax receipts in the same two months fell by £2.422 billion, a 52% fall from £4.657 billion in April & May last year to £2.235 billion in the same period this year.

Petrol and diesel total sales April and May 2020 – 4,071 million litres (down 48% from 7,868 million litres for the same period last year)

Petrol sales  – 1,219 million litres (down 56% from 2,796 million litres for the same period last year)

Diesel sales  – 2,852 million litres (down 44% from 5,072 million litres for the same period last year)

Sources: Reuters and HMRC