Weekday traffic back to pre-pandemic levels02 Jun 2021

Rise comes as pump prices increase yet again

Car traffic in Great Britain has reached a level not seen in more than a year as fuel prices continue to rise.

According to government data, on Friday 28 May 2021 car traffic was at 101% of the average level seen in the first week of February 2020, the baseline for comparisons. The increase in volume coincided with a bank holiday weekend, the start of some school holidays and good weather.

On the same day, the overall traffic volume – including lorries and vans – was at 104% of the baseline period.

At the same time, official figures show that pump prices have now risen for the 28th week in a row, with petrol averaging 128p per litre and diesel 132p per litre.

Petrol has not been this expensive since August 2019, whilst diesel is at its highest price sine January 2020.

In the wake of the first Covid lockdown in March last year petrol fell as low as £1.05p per litre whilst diesel dropped to £1.12p per litre, driven down by a collapse in demand and a big fall in the price of crude oil. Having been trading at around $10-$15 per barrel this time last year, the price of Brent Crude is now back at about $70 per barrel.

More fuel price information is available on the RAC Foundation website and in our weekly fuel fact sheet.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“Despite the seemingly inexorable rise of forecourt fuel prices over the last year the arrival of good weather and the prospect of getting out and about over the bank holiday weekend saw road traffic levels back up to pre-pandemic levels.

“Whether traffic will continue to grow as the remaining lockdown measures are lifted remains to be seen – that growth could create a big challenge for highway bosses if it comes back stronger than ever in the morning and evening peaks despite the apparent popularity of home-working.

“Official data just out shows that pump prices of both petrol and diesel have risen for the 28th week in a row, with the per litre price of petrol now 22% higher than a year ago.”



Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation

[email protected] | 07711 776448 | 020 7747 3445

Notes to editors:

The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation that explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users.

The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist. All the Foundation’s work is available at: www.racfoundation.org