Motorists pumped significantly more fuel into their vehicles but could not prevent a drop in retail sales last month, according to new figures.
Drivers used 11.1% more petrol in January than they did 12 months earlier, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported.
The January figures were 3% up on December as more and more motorists visited filling-up stations to take advantage of plummeting petrol prices, which have dived 15.1% at the forecourt.
Busy department store trading also helped to get Britons spending throughout January. But overall retail sales dipped 0.3% last month with fashion shops and supermarkets reporting slow trading.
This percentage would have dropped to 0.7% without petrol sales.
Footwear and clothing sales dropped 0.4% and supermarkets sales fell 0.9%.
The ONS also found that typical prices dropped by 3.1% throughout last month compared to January 2014, representing the biggest year-on-year dip on record.
Copyright Press Association 2015