The average price of diesel has fallen by 11.5p compared with January 2015, while a litre of petrol is 9p cheaper than a year ago.

According to the Government’s fuel data statistics, the average price of petrol on 4 January was 102.0p/litre with diesel at 106.3p/litre. A year ago petrol cost 111.0p/litre and diesel was at 117.9p/litre.

However, diesel costs less than a pound a litre at three of the major supermarkets, meaning further savings for businesses. On Monday, Tesco and Morrisons was selling diesel for 99.7p, while Sainsbury’s dropped its diesel prices to 99.9p/litre.

According to the RAC’s Fuel Watch, December saw drops in the wholesale price of both petrol and diesel of 2% and 3% respectively, with the diesel falling for the fourth consecutive month.

The reductions were fuelled by the falling oil price which dropped 17% with a barrel of oil coming down from $43.26 to $35.75 by the end of the month – last seen in June 2004.The barrel price tumbled to below $40 on Monday 7 December, and has remained below the $40 barrier since.

“Supermarkets play a very important role in the fuel market as, despite only having 16% of all forecourt sites, they are responsible for 44% of the volume of all fuel sales,” said RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams.

“This means their prices affect what other nearby retailers charge as well as being highly influential on the nationwide average prices of both petrol and diesel,” he added