Best motorway service stations revealed

Best motorway service stations revealed

According to the latest Motorway Services User Survey conducted by Transport Focus, most motorway service areas (MSAs) in Britain are doing a good job. The independent transport user watchdog, Transport Focus, spoke to more than 31,000 visitors at 119 motorway services about their views on the toilets, staff, value of the food and drink, electric vehicle charging, and the impact their visit had on drivers’ mood.

According to the survey, which covered MSAs operated by Moto, Extra, Roadchef, Euro Garages, Welcome Break and Stop 24, the Rugby service area on the M6, run by Moto, was the highest rated.

In the survey’s fifth year, motorway service operators performed well overall, with 93 per cent of visitors happy with their visit. One hundred per cent of visitors were satisfied with their visit to Rugby services, the newest site on the motorway network. It also came out on top as the site visitors were most likely to recommend to someone making a similar journey and the highest satisfaction with the toilets at 99 per cent.

Transport Focus surveyed motorway services visitors in Scotland and Wales operated by Roadchef and Welcome Break for the first time. Sarn Park (Welcome Break) is the highest rated services in Wales (97 per cent), and Hamilton (Roadchef) is the highest rated in Scotland (94 per cent).

According to the latest Motorway Services User Survey conducted by Transport Focus, most motorway service areas (MSAs) in Britain are doing a good job. The independent transport user watchdog, Transport Focus, spoke to more than 31,000 visitors at 119 motorway services about their views on the toilets, staff, value of the food and drink, electric vehicle charging, and the impact their visit had on drivers' mood.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “As many people gear up for a half-term getaway, motorway services provide a great place to stop and take a break. Many of us, when we think services, think about stopping for a toilet break – it’s reassuring to see that these are consistently highly rated. Our survey shows motorway service operators deliver good overall customer experience and facilities, but visitors don’t always feel they get value for money. Services continue to do a good job of their most important safety function – allowing drivers to rest and relax before getting back on the road.”

The key findings of the survey were:

  • Staff at the services are considered helpful and friendly, with nine in ten visitors rating them positively
  • Eighty-eight per cent of visitors were satisfied with the toilets. Extra and Roadchef had the highest ratings for toilets, both at 93 per cent
  • Value for money continues to be the key area for improvement – 63 per cent of visitors thought the food or drink available to eat in the services was value for money
  • Stopping at the services has a positive impact on drivers’ mood, with almost one in three arriving saying they feel tired, stressed or frustrated, down to less than one in ten after the visit
  • HGV drivers were the least satisfied overall, at 88 per cent
  • Users charging electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles rated the payment options at the services highly (91 per cent). Still, they gave lower ratings for value for money (68 per cent) and online information (73 per cent).

The highest-rated motorway services were Rugby (Moto M6), Donnington Park (Moto M1), Blackburn (Extra M65) and Strensham North (Roadchef M5).

The lowest rated were Hartshead Moor East (Welcome Break M62), Lancaster South (Moto M6), Charnock Richard South (Welcome Break M6) and Birchanger Green (Welcome Break M11).

Contrast with the Which Survey

The Transport Focus survey contrasts with a Which survey of motorway services published in September. The Which survey found that the top three service areas were all run by Westmoreland, a company not included in the Transport Focus survey. The services at Gloucester, Tebay and Cairn Lodge run by Westmoreland came out top, with the Norton Canes Roadchef services on the M6 toll road in fourth place.

The Which report noted, “It’s a disservice to describe the stop between junctions 11A and 12 on the M5 as a service station. Unlike the dreary buildings often found on motorways, Gloucester Services has a designer feel, with a roof carpeted in grass and the splash of a pond out the front of its floor-to-ceiling windows. You can enjoy the view while tucking into homecooked meals such as fish and chips and steak and ale pie. You can also buy local produce from the fabulous farm shop, including bread to rival any baker and regional cheeses, such as Hereford Hop. No wonder visitors called it an essential part of a journey through Gloucestershire.”

This contrasted with the worst service area, the Bridgwater services operated by Moto on the M5. The survey commented, “Don’t stop at Bridgwater. Even if you’re desperate for the toilet. Not only is it terrible, but by the time you’ve left the M5, navigated two roundabouts, found a space in the cramped split-level car park and contended with the confusing layout and crowds inside, you may as well have driven the extra 12 miles to either Sedgemoor (52%) or Taunton Dean (57%) services.”

Conkers, Potholes and Pigeons

Conkers, Potholes and Pigeons

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In a survey of 2,000 British car owners in September 2022, the used-car marketplace Motorway revealed the leading causes of unexpected vehicle damage outside of wear and tear or road incidents.

Potholes came out top, with 55% experiencing pothole-associated damage in the last year alone – set to increase following a record-breaking hot summer which will see UK roads contract this winter.

Adverse weather conditions (22%) and low-hanging branches (20%) showed nature isn’t always on the driver’s side when it comes to other top causes of unexpected damage. Other obscure answers came from shopping trolleys, acorns and conkers, and deer lost in the road.

This was closely followed by pigeon droppings wrecking paintwork (44%), debris on the road (40%), and stones impacting tyres (38%). Adverse weather conditions (22%) and low-hanging branches (20%) showed nature isn’t always on the driver’s side when it comes to other top causes of unexpected damage. Other obscure answers came from shopping trolleys, acorns and conkers, and deer lost in the road.

With a tough winter ahead, 80% of Brits are concerned about the cost of car maintenance, with over a fifth open to selling their vehicle. However, 65% are worried about how the damage has affected the value of their car, with 70% seeking out at-home fixes to avoid forking out on repairs.

Though it might be tempting to opt for a quick fix, Alex Buttle, co-founder of Motorway, said of the findings: “When it comes to retaining the value of your car, it’s important to keep on top of regular maintenance and have repairs made as and when needed. While it can be frustrating to spend the money at the time, ultimately car owners will be maximising the future value of their car, which is always important when it’s time to sell.”

Top 10 most common causes of unexpected vehicle damage:

  1. Potholes (55%)
  2. Bird excrement (44%)
  3. Debris on the road (40%)
  4. Stones in tyres (38%)
  5. Adverse weather conditions (22%)
  6. Low hanging trees (20%)
  7. Sea salt (8%)
  8. Sun damage such as bleaching upholstery (8%)
  9. Conkers (7%)
  10. Chewing gum (6%)

To find out more and for a no-obligation quote, visit Motorway.co.uk to find out what you could get for your car.

Start Rescue’s Money Saving Tips for Motorists’

Start Rescue’s Money Saving Tips for Motorists’

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With the cost of living crisis, many of us are looking at ways we can cut back on costs.

Whilst for many motorists, the prospect of using their vehicle less is not an option, Which? Recommended Breakdown Provider, Start Rescue has some simple fuel-saving tips.

With the cost of living crisis, many of us are looking at ways we can cut back on costs.  Whilst for many motorists, the prospect of using their vehicle less is not an option, Which? Recommended Breakdown Provider, Start Rescue has some simple fuel-saving tips.

Carry out regular vehicle maintenance checks

The vehicle needs to be in optimal condition. This means ensuring the service schedule is followed, but drivers should also be proactive in looking after their vehicle.

Tyre pressures are still often neglected, and these can have a big impact on efficiency, as well as replacement costs if they wear unnecessarily due to having incorrect pressure. Check your handbook and consider using the quoted higher pressures for long motorway trips or when carrying heavy loads.

Empty your car of items not needed

Don’t carry unnecessary weight. A car is much more energy efficient with less bulk on board.

Remove any unnecessary clutter, including roof racks and bike racks that can impair aerodynamic efficiency.

Avoid rapid acceleration and braking

Most of all, it’s important to anticipate and drive defensively.

Leaving more space between you and the car in front means you can gently decelerate if needed, rather than requiring heavy use of the brakes which is wasted energy. It’s a more relaxing way to travel, too; slow down early for roundabouts and junctions, and don’t leave braking until the last second.

Similarly, avoiding rapid acceleration will result in burning less fuel.

Correctly use your gears

Use the correct gear for the road conditions, cruising in top gear where possible.

Switch off air conditioning

Switch off air conditioning in mild weather instead of leaving it permanently on. Even in warmer weather, consider opening the vehicle windows instead of immediately reaching for the air conditioning controls

Check fuel prices

Check the PetrolPrices app to compare prices on your route before you set off, so you can refuel at the cheapest station.

Start Rescue Managing Director Lee Puffett comments: “At a time when bills are rising, a little pre-journey preparation, and consideration of driving style can help to save motorists money on fuel. Remember that every press of the accelerator pedal impacts your wallet; treat the throttle as a money gauge and the gentler you are, the more you will save. Finally, be careful – safety takes priority over everything else.”

Fuel Saving Top Tips from Start Rescue

  • Check the PetrolPrices app
  • Reduce your cruising speed
  • Limit use of air conditioning
  • Check tyre pressures weekly
  • Remove unnecessary racks, carriers and weight on board
  • Leave plenty of distance so you can reduce use of the brake pedal
  • Change gear earlier, cruise in-a high gear when you can
  • Switch the engine off in stationary traffic
  • Choose routes with major roads and motorways where possible

Aside from adopting these tips from Start Rescue, to help you save you money on fuel, Start Rescue’s range of affordable breakdown cover polices could mean you could also benefit from saving money on your vehicle breakdown provision.

Breakdown cover price comparison based on 3 Star Cover*

Breakdown cover price comparison based on 3 Star Cover* £30.80 per year with Start Rescue

All Start Rescue policies include unlimited callouts, misfuel cover and accident recovery as standard, Their Three Star cover, which has been rated five stars by Defaqto. also includes Home Assist, so should your vehicle not start at home, they will be able to come and assist you.

* All competitor prices have been based on Start Rescue’s most popular 3-star level of cover for a vehicle aged up to 5 years-old. Cover includes nationwide recovery, home assistance, alternative transport, overnight accommodation and key assist. Last updated 19/10/2022.

The price of your policy will depend on the age of your vehicle and the level of cover you choose.

Top 10 tips for selling your car

Top 10 tips for selling your car

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If you feel like you want to take charge of your car’s sale and need a little support selling, here are ten great tips that will help put you back in the driving seat.

Top 10 tips for selling your car

Selling your car can be a daunting and stressful activity. If you’re not a car expert – and you’re dealing with prospective buyers or car dealers – it can quickly feel like you’re spiralling out of control.

If you feel like you want to take charge of your car’s sale and need a little support selling, here are ten great tips that will help put you back in the driving seat.

1.     Understand your car’s true value

Though you might personally value your car very highly – it might even hold significant sentimental value for you – when you come to sell, you’ll find out that its value is, in fact, set by the market.

Your car’s true value will be affected by such factors as age, mileage, condition, and service history – but market prices are also a factor. If you want a decent price for your vehicle, it is essential that you first ascertain its true market value.

2.     Get a valuation for your car

Getting an accurate picture of your car’s value is now quicker and easier than it’s ever been. There are now plenty of websites – including Motorway – that can provide you with an instant estimate of your car’s value based on up-to-date market data, simply by entering your reg online.

3.     Be realistic

If you want to see what other similar models to your car are selling for, you should also look at the pages of Auto Trader and the auction website eBay and see what prices the same year and model cars are achieving in private sales. If your car is worth less than £200, you may get more selling it for scrap.

4.      Working out your priorities

What are you looking for from your sale? Ask yourself, early in the process, what do you care about most? Speed, convenience, or final selling price?

If you just want to free up some space in your garage or your drive and want to be rid of your car as quickly as possible – then you might want to choose an instant car-buying website or part-exchange your car at a dealership.

If you are more interested in getting the best price you can for your car, then selling privately through a classified advert or an online auction will usually be a better option. Though you will typically get a better price this way, selling privately is often a very protracted, drawn-out process – which can involve you showing your car to many prospective buyers over a long period.

5.     Select the best selling option for you

If you do decide to sell privately, you might attain a higher price than you would at an instant car-buying website – but it’s also a sale route with no guarantees. Plus, you will likely have to deal with several prospective buyers coming to your house, potentially bartering over the car’s price, and putting up with timewasters.

If you’d prefer convenience and the best price for your car – you could try Motorway. Motorway will put your car on sale with a nationwide network of more than 4,000 verified car dealers – who will then compete to buy your car. Not only is it quick and easy, but with this free online service, you can potentially receive more than £1,000 more for your car.

6.     Getting the car ready for sale

If you’re selling to an instant car buyer or part-exchanging, you won’t need to do too much with your car except to remove your belongings (maps, tool kits, child seats, etc.) from it before handing over your keys. If you’re selling privately, however, you need to make sure that your car is looking as good as possible to avoid prospective buyers chipping away at the price.

Ensure your car is cleaned thoroughly inside and out and – if you think it’ll drive up your selling price – fix minor issues like dents and scratches. Replacing worn-out floor mats and buying a good-quality air freshener are cheap ways to improve the inside of your car. If you decide to use a service like Motorway, making your car look as good as possible will help generate a better response from their network of verified dealers, before they compete to make you an offer.

7.     Take time with your pictures

If you’re selling your car privately or via Motorway, you will need to take pictures of it. Whilst you don’t need to be a professional photographer, using a decent digital camera will obviously help here. Borrow one, if you don’t have one yourself. Remember to take your pictures in good weather and use a pleasant background location. A light and open space will always make your car look better. Also, a country lane or leafy street will help make your car more sellable than parking it next to some bins or a graffitied wall. Remember to get shots from all around your car – both inside and out.

8.     Knowing how to negotiate

Whilst it’s true that if you choose to use an instant online car-buying service you will usually have less need to negotiate, many will often try to chip down the price they previously offered during the final inspection – especially if your car is in any way different to how you initially described it.

However, if you decide to sell privately or part exchange then you should probably be prepared to barter over the price. When meeting a prospective buyer or car dealer always ensure you’re armed with research about what your car is worth. Try to stand your ground – and be prepared to walk away from the negotiation if they attempt to radically undercut your price.

If you’re concerned about negotiating with buyers and dealers, consider using Motorway’s free service which will match your car with a verified dealer willing to pay the best price –without the need for negotiating.

9.     Get a safe payment

However you choose to sell your car, it is of course essential that you never give anyone your car keys until after you’ve been paid. Also, you should never allow a buyer to pay by cheque or tell you that they’ll transfer the money later.

A reputable buyer will always understand that you need to receive payment – either with cash or bank transfer – before you hand over the keys. If it’s a transfer, you will also need to confirm that the money has reached your bank account.

Motorway’s service is completely free for sellers – and payments are always made by secure bank transfer.

10.  What to do post-sale

When payment for your car has been confirmed, you should then hand over your car keys (including any spares), the ‘New Owner’ section of your V5C (vehicle logbook), and your service and MOT history.

As well as informing the DVLA that you have sold your car, you will also need to cancel your car insurance and reclaim your road tax. Many drivers don’t realise road tax can be reclaimed after the sale of a car – but the DVLA actually makes this process very easy via their website.

Esso launches new 25% renewable diesel on 20 sites in the South East of England

Esso launches new 25% renewable diesel on 20 sites in the South East of England

Esso has launched a new renewable diesel in the UK. Not always known for its commitment to renewable energy, Esso claims it is the first to be launched in the UK. The Esso website claims it has been launched because “we understand that you want help to reduce the impact of driving your car. And globally, we have exciting plans to increase the amount of lower-emission fuels we offer. So now we’re launching Esso Supreme 25% Renewable Diesel, with 15% lower life cycle GHG emissions than our regular diesel.”

Patrick Rutherford, Esso UK retail sales manager, said Esso was excited to bring the Esso Supreme 25% Renewable Diesel trial to UK drivers. He explained that focus groups had revealed an increasing appetite for fuel products with greener credentials: ”This pilot allows us to deliver an actual choice rather than a hypothetical choice. The additive structure is the same as our standard premium diesel, so it has the same protection for the engine. The affordability of the transition to green energy isn’t open to everyone. This is a ’drop-in’ fuel that allows a consumer to fill up with no risk to interchangeability on their vehicle because it meets the required fuel standards. The infrastructure is there to deliver greener fuels in a way that gives another choice…(Esso Supreme 25% Renewable Diesel) gives them something now. It has all the great advantages that our customers have come to expect from high-quality Esso fuels, but with the added benefit of being an immediate, lower-carbon-intensive choice.”

What is Esso Supreme 25% Renewable Diesel Esso Supreme 25% Renewable Diesel is made with a minimum of 25% premium renewable hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) derived from RTFO(4) compliant wastes and residues – in this case, used cooking oil. The fuel has 15% lower life cycle greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) than Esso’s regular Synergy Diesel. For every 50 litres of Esso Supreme 25% Renewable Diesel used, Esso states that there is an average of 25kg saving in lifecycle GHG emissions. In launching the trial, Esso stated that the average UK diesel car driver travels 9,400 miles per year; if they were to switch to Esso Supreme 25% Renewable Diesel, the annual saving in lifecycle GHG emissions would be equivalent to the emissions generated by two round trips from London to Edinburgh. Details of the sites participating in the trial can be found on Esso’s site locator, www.esso.co.uk/en-gb/find-station. Esso’s parent company, ExxonMobil, plans to invest more than $15 billion by 2027 on initiatives to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, Esso intends to provide more than 40,000 barrels per day of lower-emissions fuels by 2025 and has a further goal of 200,000 barrels per day by 2030. It believes achieving this goal will help society reduce more than 25 million metric tons of CO₂ emissions from the transportation sector.

What is Esso Supreme 25% Renewable Diesel

Esso Supreme 25% Renewable Diesel is made with a minimum of 25% premium renewable hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) derived from RTFO(4) compliant wastes and residues – in this case, used cooking oil. The fuel has 15% lower life cycle greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) than Esso’s regular Synergy Diesel. For every 50 litres of Esso Supreme 25% Renewable Diesel used, Esso states that there is an average of 25kg saving in lifecycle GHG emissions.

In launching the trial, Esso stated that the average UK diesel car driver travels 9,400 miles per year; if they were to switch to Esso Supreme 25% Renewable Diesel, the annual saving in lifecycle GHG emissions would be equivalent to the emissions generated by two round trips from London to Edinburgh.

Details of the sites participating in the trial can be found on Esso’s site locator, www.esso.co.uk/en-gb/find-station.
Esso’s parent company, ExxonMobil, plans to invest more than $15 billion by 2027 on initiatives to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, Esso intends to provide more than 40,000 barrels per day of lower-emissions fuels by 2025 and has a further goal of 200,000 barrels per day by 2030. It believes achieving this goal will help society reduce more than 25 million metric tons of CO₂ emissions from the transportation sector.

Milk is Becoming More Expensive than Petrol for the First Time in Years

Milk is Becoming More Expensive than Petrol for the First Time in Years

According to the Daily Telegraph, major convenience store chains are selling pints of milk at a higher equivalent price per litre than petrol. A one-pint bottle of semi-skimmed milk today costs 95p at branches of the Co-op, up by 40p compared to a year ago. That is equivalent to £1.67 per litre, more than the £1.66 charged on average at forecourts for a litre of unleaded petrol.

Sainsbury’s is reportedly charging £1.05 for a pint of milk (or £1.85 per litre) at its Sainsbury’s Local convenience stores. Another food retailer, Morrisons, is charging more for milk than petrol at its chain of convenience stores, Morrisons Daily. Here a pint of milk costs 99p (£1.74 per litre), compared to 89p (£1.57 per litre) at the grocer’s larger shops.

Petrol has also jumped significantly in the past year; the latest unleaded petrol price is 30p a litre higher than last year, according to the figures from the RAC.

Wales Online reported that some supermarkets in Wales are selling single pints for £1.05, a fraction under £1.85 a litre. By contrast, unleaded petrol prices have fallen from £1.91 per litre to £1.49 in some areas.

Milk is Becoming More Expensive than Petrol for the First Time in Years

Milk Production Costs are Increasing

Over the past year, milk prices have soared by two-thirds, pushing the average price per pint to 86p – the equivalent of £1.50 a litre. National Farming Union President Minette Batters said: “Costs are rising rapidly on farms across the country.”

The Grocer magazine commented: “Dairy is at the sharp end of food and drinks price increases, with milk leading the charge. The average price of semi-skimmed milk has seen a market change since July and at an average 86p has increased 65% year on year.”

Higher energy costs have hit dairy farmers across the board. The electricity needed to milk cows, process and refrigerate milk, and produce containers cost more. The fuel required to transport it in tankers costs more, and there have been increases in the cost of animal feed.

A spokesman for the Co-op said: “Our price is lower than other convenience stores and accounts for increased costs, such as more frequent deliveries and higher rents from running smaller shops in city centres.

“In addition, and unlike some retailers, our dairy farmers benefit from being paid a fair price premium for what they produce to take into account the cost of production.”

According to the Daily Mail, it won’t be the first time milk is dearer than petrol – but that was in the late 1980s when a glut of oil led to the price collapsing. At the time, many households had milk delivered to the doorstep, meaning prices were relatively higher than now as they included a delivery charge.

Petrol prices will remain higher than normal for as long as the war in Ukraine affects supplies. Still, the AA said: ‘There is hope that prices will continue to fall by as much as 15p per litre as rising interest rates and the threat of global recession creates a decline in demand which should, in turn, enable the oil supply to stabilise.’

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