Red diesel prices fell further this week as crude oil hit an eight-month low of $86 a barrel.

Prices are now around 55-56p/litre, almost 20p/litre below the July peak, Nick Adamson of Oxon-based fuel distributor, Ackerman & Niece said.

“This time last year, prices were in the mid-forties per litre. There’s a long way to go yet, but it’s not beyond the realms of reality that we could get there. Prices have gone down three pence per litre this week alone,” he said.

But the situation remained very volatile and most of the recent fall in oil-based product prices had been on the back of global economic worries, he added. “Demand for oil has been plunging around the world. OPEC has tried to keep prices up by cutting supply, but it hasn’t been enough.

“Prices here would have fallen a lot further if the pound hadn’t weakened against the dollar.”

Mr Adamson said the falling fuel prices raised speculation that the government might try to introduce its postponed 2p rise in petrol excise duty. “It didn’t bring in the planned tax rise on 1 October, but it does make you wonder what will happen if there’s a mini-budget in December. It won’t be a popular decision, but the government does need to find some cash at the moment.”