New research shows that UK motorists are thinking twice before they drive due to the high price of petrol.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change says that between April and June almost half a billion fewer litres of petrol were sold than during the same period last year.
This followed a rise of 120,000 litre in petrol sales in the first three months of the year, partly due to scares that deliveries would not be made to forecourts at the end of March.
In April petrol prices rose to a record high and although prices subsequently fell during the period motorists still opted to use their cars less.
Just before April there was a big rise in the amount of petrol bought as drivers stocked up because of concerns that there might be a strike by petrol tanker delivery drivers.
The figures show that in the first six months of 2012, 16.7 billion litres of fuel were sold in the UK. This is more than two million less than over the same period in 2008, when almost 19 billion litres were sold.
AA president Edmund King said: "A 10.6% fall in petrol sales this past quarter is a huge drop.
"However, petrol prices slumped more than 10p a litre, from the record of 142.48p a litre in mid April to the low-point of 131.19p at the end of June, and UK drivers began to travel further with lighter evenings, bank holidays and the Queen's diamond jubilee celebrations."
"While we welcome the fact that new cars have become more fuel-efficient, this goes nowhere near to accounting for the crash in demand over the past three months, and the past five years.
"Ever-increasing prices in recent years have sent petrol sales into steady decline and the panic buying at the end of March may have brought forward sales in early April. Wet weather may also have played a part.
"Price transparency is the way forward: to ensure and show drivers that they are getting a fair deal at the pump."
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) announced last month that it is to launch a competition inquiry into petrol and diesel prices to see whether wholesale price cuts are being passed onto motorists.