World oil prices dropped to their lowest level of the year today (Wednesday January 13th), according to reports.
Brent North Sea crude oil for delivery in February was down 84 cents to 78.46 dollars (£48) in late morning London trading.
Meanwhile, New York's main futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in February, fell by 87 cents to $79.92 (£49) per barrel.
According to insiders, oil prices fell sharply on Tuesday amid prospects of an ease in heating fuel demand in the US due to milder weather and attempts by China to cool off its economy.
Andrey Kryuchenkov, commodities analyst at VTB Capital, told AFP: "Oil futures came off in choppy trading on Tuesday ahead of the weekly US fuel inventories report expected later today.
"Just like in the week before, the cold snap should take its toll on distillate inventories with a potentially hefty draw."
UK commentators have called for the drop in wholesale fuel prices to be reflected in retail prices to ease the financial burden on low-income households who are using more heating this winter.
If you want to find out more about energy prices and how a free service could help you save up to 50% on your business energy bills, click here.