Supermarket sales were particularly badly hit – dipping 14.6 per cent in the last three months of 2009 compared with the October-December 2008 figure, according to data from the AA.
In tonnes, overall petrol sales in October-December 2009 dipped 9.9 per cent compared with the same period in 2008.
During the October-December 2009 period, the average price of petrol rose from 105.3p a litre to 107.95p. In the same period in 2008, prices plunged from 110.0p a litre to just 87.64p.
Petrol sales for all 2009 were 4.3 per cent down on 2008, with diesel sales falling 1.8 per cent.
An AA spokesman : "We know through our AA/Populus surveys that 110p a litre is the point at which UK drivers' tolerance of rising fuel prices begins to run low.
"With greater restriction on family budgets from pay restraints, lower savings income and other fall-out from the credit crunch, it should come as no surprise that rising fuel costs started to hit sales below that point."