You can take yesterday's inflation numbers too tragically - and with a little luck, the Bank of England knows better.

Yes, filling your tank at 90p a litre is an inflationary experience. Do it often enough and you have less money to spend on something else. If you are a business you will have to pass the cost on to your customers who are feeling the strain, too.

The price of diesel has now gone past the point that provoked the truckers and farmers to blockade enough refineries five years ago to bring the country to a halt.

This time there is barely a whimper. There are no reports, either, of transport companies buying fewer new trucks in an effort to save cash by slowing down their replacement programmes.

The truckers must be too busy to sit around moaning. The economy is humming. And yesterday's inflation numbers show that the nonoil part of it is not inflating much, in terms of good not at all.

The old retail prices index --the one still used as a starting point in pay talks and for most state benefits - stood stock still between June and July. So did the version without mortgage interest, the yardstick for the Bank of England's inflation target until the end of 2003.

The new-fangled CPI looks a good deal worse. That is largely because it is linked to a European index that ignores every cost of buying and owning your home, so it misses the counter-inflationary effect of the stagnant housing market. Gordon Brown's decision to switch to this statistical fiction looked perverse at the time. Now it is actually inflating inflation.

Yet even the CPI rose by less than 0.1 per cent last month. The leap in headline, annual inflation was caused almost entirely by events in July last year when petrol prices fell quite sharply, albeit briefly. Last month that dip dropped out of the annual reckoning exaggerating the effect of the sharp increase this time - or rather the way it shows up in the statistics.

What happened a year ago is as important as what happened last month for the official statisticians working out the percentages for inflation. But it has no practical bearing whatever on real life now. Fortunately, the interest-setters at the Bank of England know this as well an anyone.