High fuel prices thin out Sheffield traffic

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SKY-high fuel costs have forced almost a fifth of drivers off the roads - according to new shock Government figures.

The survey found that traffic has slumped generally by nearly 20 per cent throughout the UK.

Most amazingly was the stretch of M1 between Sheffield and Leicester where it was discovered congestion had more than halved in the last year, an independent report showed.

Trafficmaster spokesman Graham Smith said: “The simple explanation is fewer vehicles on the roads. The cost of fuel is a major factor.”

The figures - from the Department of Transport - are also based on delays in jams which have decreased by 17 per cent in the four years that a litre of unleaded has rocketed from 89.5p to over 131p.

Meanwhile petrol sales were down 9.5 per cent at the end of last year, the Office for National Statistics found. Half a million fewer motorists drive in to London’s Congestion Charge zone.

The RAC said of forking out at the pumps: “A lot of people are looking at alternatives.”

Roads minister Mike Penning said: “We recognise it’s a tough time for motorists.”