Londoners Carry on Driving After Government Urges Work-From-Home

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Traffic congestion in London remains high despite the British government this week urging office staff to go back to home-working, a development that suggests the U.K.’s recovery in fuel consumption may continue.

London’s streets were 3% more congested on Wednesday than they were on average last year, according to data from satellite navigation firm TomTom International BV. The jams were similar to those observed on Tuesday and Monday, and higher than a week earlier.

The U.K. government on Tuesday asked office workers to return to home-working where possible to contain the spread of coronavirus and some big banks said they would pause the return of staff into their offices. It’s unclear, however, whether those who already returned have been asked togo back to working from home. Morning rush hour traffic in London continued to be higher on Thursday than a week ago, another signal that many are still driving into the city.

The recovery in London commuter traffic — good news for the oil market but bad news for the planet — accelerated significantly in early September with the start of the school year and several companies offering employees cash incentives to use their cars or take taxis to work, rather than public transport.

In the first three days of this week, London suffered traffic jams about 3% higher than the 2019 average, the highest weekly average since early March, when the U.K. was on the cusp of going into lockdown, according to TomTom’s data.

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