Fleet News

Home working could be here to stay, fuel sales suggest

Fuel pumps

Fuel sales at filling stations across the UK are still 23% below pre-lockdown levels, despite restrictions being eased, according to latest government figures.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s latest data revealed daily diesel sales are still 20% down than before lockdown, while petrol sales are 26% lower than would be expected. Sales now stand at 13, 670 litres and 5,360 litres respectively.

Average sales per filling station have only gradually increased since mid-April and in the week ending July 5, were up just 3.2% compared to the previous week.

Greg Wilson, founder of Quotezone.co.uk, said: “As the lockdown begins to ease we’ve been expecting to see the level of road use across Great Britain start to climb back up – especially with reduced use of public transport, but this newly published data shows that we’re still quite a long way off pre-lockdown levels.

“Although the move to step 3 in the government’s recovery plan saw the most significant easing of lockdown measures in England so far, it only came into effect on July 4, so it’s likely we’ll see road use gradually increase a little more in the weeks ahead.”

A loss of confidence in public transport looks set to change how employees will travel to work as the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown eases, new research has found.

Lockdown measures employed during the coronavirus crisis have resulted in thousands of fleet managers running vehicles from their homes.

A recent Fleet News survey revealed the majority of fleet decision-makers – close to three-quarters (73.4%) – said they were working from home; one in 10 were dividing their working day between the office and home, and just 15.4% were still in the office full-time.

Meanwhile, a Fleet News poll suggests that for many, some two-thirds (66%) of respondents, working from home will become their new ‘normal’.

While pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, hotels, outdoor gyms, museums, galleries, cinemas, places of worship, community centres and libraries are now allowed to open, Wilson says the road fuel sales data suggests many people are still cautious.

Wilson said: “The very modest 3.2% week-on-week rise in fuel sales suggests many motorists are still cautious, in which case it might be the autumn or later before the traffic on Britain’s roads is back to pre-lockdown levels – particularly since government guidance still states that anyone who is able to work from home should continue to do so for the time being.

“While this isn’t good news for petrol station owners, there is a financial upside for office workers who plan to continue working from home, because it means they could continue to save an average of £108 per month on road fuel during that time.”

In the eight weeks prior to lockdown being imposed on March 23, average daily road fuel sales were 17,690 litres per filling station.

The lowest average daily figure recorded was 2,500 litres, on April 12, at the peak of the pandemic. 

Figures for the first part of the lockdown from March 23 to May 10 were down 71% on pre-lockdown fuel sales.

The report used petrol and diesel sales figures from 4,500 filling stations, which make up over 50% of petrol stations in Great Britain. The study covered the period from January 27, 2020 to July 05, 2020.

A Fleet News webinar: WATCH NOW

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on fleet operations and business travel

Sponsored by Sixt.

A discussion hosted by Fleet News on the UK business response to the fleet challenges presented by Covid-19. 

A panel of experts will provide an insight into the trends and changes that they are seeing, before leading a debate and discussion among participants, including delegates, on future working practices, changes to travel policies, opportunities offered by mobility solutions and implications for fleet sizes, replacement cycles, funding methods and vehicle type.

Watch the webinar

Chaired by editor in chief Stephen Briers, in this 45-minute webinar, he will be in conversation with:

  • Dale Eynon is director of Defra Group Fleet Services and will give a fleet operator view of how covid-19 is affecting fleet operations
  • Kit Allwinter is senior consultant at AECOM and is a specialist in sustainable and active travel including shared mobility. He will provide a view on how Covid-19 is changing the way people travel and business working practices, etc. and the implications for travel and fleet activity, especially in urban areas
  • Paul Hollick, chair of the Association of Fleet Professionals. He’ll be representing the views of UK fleets, providing insight into how their operations are likely to evolve and change due to new working practices sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Simon Turner, campaign manager at Driving for Better Business, which has created a Covid-19 toolkit, driver app and management portal to help fleets back to business.

  • Stuart Donnelly, Sixt (sponsor)


• Changes to working practices (agile/remote/office working)

• Changes to travel policies (travel to work, travel to client, travel to supplier etc)

• Implications for fleet size (new car/van sales demand)

• Impact on replacement cycles (new car sales demand) and annual mileage

• Impact on demand by vehicle type (EV, Hybrid, Petrol, Diesel)

• Changes in funding preference (fewer traditional 3-4-year contract hire lease agreements and more flexi-hire contracts?)

• Active travel policies (walk, cycle, other)

• Public transport policies (to work, at work)

• Role for other mobility preferences (car share, car clubs, mobility budgets)


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