Motorway service stations charge up to 37p a litre more than stations less than 3 miles away

Motorway service stations charge up to 37p a litre more than stations less than 3 miles away

Exiting the motorway to refuel at a local garage could save motorists up to £20

A study by fuel price information service and app, PetrolPrices.com has revealed that UK service stations are charging up to 37p per litre of fuel more than their nearest station, taking advantage of the captive market.

The research by PetrolPrices.com found that Leicester Forest East services is charging 37p per litre more than nearby station Sainsbury’s Fosse Park which is 2.1 miles away. Bridgewater services on the M5 in Somerset is charging up to 29p per litre more than Sainsburys Bridgewater, which is just 2.5 miles away. This equates to £16.38 and £12.18 more per tank respectively, when filling up the 42L tank of a Ford Fiesta which is the best-selling car in the UK. Bridgewater, Cherwell Valley, Exeter and Lancaster services featured in both lists of stations that charged much more than their nearest cheapest station for both diesel and unleaded.

The study found that a five-hour journey from Maidstone to Cornwall would cost £150 if the driver filled a 50-litre tank at Clacket Lane services on the M25 and then Exeter service station on the M5. However, drivers could save £20 by pulling off the motorway and refilling at the Shell pumps in Godstone, Surrey, and the Tesco Extra in Exeter Vale.

Says Kitty Bates, consumer spokesperson at fuel pricing information app, PetrolPrices.com “Our research shows that many motorway service stations are pricing their fuel well over the odds with some stations charging up to 37p per litre more than their nearest forecourt operator.

“Motorway Service Areas have long been much higher priced because operators know that motorists have to fill up there, and they have a captive audience, so they charge a similar rate year round, regardless of the fluctuations in the wholesale industry. Their argument is the costs are higher, which is something the government has been saying that it wants to investigate for quite a few years now. However, until this takes place, we would encourage drivers to find the best fuel deal local to them, or along their intended route, before they set off using a service such as PetrolPrices.com which will help them to avoid paying an excess on the motorway.”

Top 10 Most Expensive Motorway Service Station for Unleaded

Motorway Service Area M road County Closest cheapest Unleaded station Motorway Service Area Unleaded price per litre Cheapest Unleaded price per litre Price difference pence per litre
Bridgwater services M5 Somerset SAINSBURYS BRIDGWATER 148.9 119.9 29
Tamworth services M42 Staffordshire CENTURION SERVICE STATION 150.9 123.9 27
Keele services M6 Staffordshire MORRISONS STOKE 148.9 124.7 24.2
Lancaster (Forton) Services M6 Lancashire ASDA FULWOOD AUTOMAT 148.9 124.7 24.2
Newport Pagnell services M1 Buckinghamshire TESCO MILTON KEYNES KINGSTON EXTRA 148.9 123.9 25
Cherwell Valley services M40 Oxfordshire TESCO BICESTER LAKEVIEW 148.9 124.9 24
Exeter services M5 Devon TESCO EXETER VALE EXTRA 148.9 124.9 24
Hartshead Moor services M62 West Yorkshire TESCO BRIGHOUSE BRADFORD ROAD 148.9 124.9 24
Heston services M4 Greater London TESCO HAYES BULLS BRIDGE EXTRA 148.9 124.9 24
Medway services M2 Kent SAINSBURYS HEMPSTEAD 148.9 124.9 24
Pont Abraham services M4 Carmarthenshire TESCO PONTARDDULAIS 150.9 126.9 24
Stafford services M6 Staffordshire FAIRWAY SERVICE STATION 151.9 127.9 24

Top 10 Most Expensive Motorway Service Station for Diesel

MSA name M road County Closest cheapest diesel Motorway Service Area Diesel price per litre Diesel price per litre Price difference pence per litre
Leicester Forest East services M1 Leicestershire SAINSBURYS FOSSE PARK 167.9 130.9 37
Woodall services M1 South Yorkshire BRIDGEHOUSE SERVICE STATION 165.9 134.9 31
Maidstone services M20 Kent ASHFORD ROAD SERVICE STATION 165.9 135.9 30
Rownhams services M27 Hampshire SHELL BASSETT 166.9 138.9 28
Cherwell Valley services M40 Oxfordshire TESCO BICESTER LAKEVIEW 155.9 129.9 26
Lancaster (Forton) Services M6 Lancashire ASDA FULWOOD AUTOMAT 155.9 130.7 25.2
Bridgwater services M5 Somerset SAINSBURYS BRIDGWATER 155.9 130.9 25
Exeter services M5 Devon TESCO EXETER VALE EXTRA 155.9 130.9 25
Oxford services M40 Oxfordshire ASDA WHEATLEY AUTOMAT 155.9 131.7 24.2
Sedgemoor services M5 Somerset ASDA HIGHBRIDGE AUTOMAT 155.9 131.7 24.2
Tebay Services M6 Cumbria ASDA KENDAL AUTOMAT 155.9 131.7 24.2
Todhills Rest Area M6 Cumbria ASDA CARLISLE AUTOMAT 155.9 131.7 24.2

The research follows comments by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling in which he called for fuel retailers to allow motorists to check the price of filling up at their forecourt before they travel using a smartphone app after accusing them of ‘taking advantage of drivers’. The Transport Secretary wants motorists to be able to view prices so they can better plan motorway journeys and work out where to get the cheapest fuel – a service already provided by PetrolPrices.

PetrolPrices.com is the UK’s leading fuel price information service with one million active members saving up to £200 on average per year. Over the last thirteen years it has helped over four million people save money on their fuel by comparing prices from 8,440 petrol stations daily, sending over five million monthly price alert emails to its members.

For more information for members of the press, please see more on our Press Page: https://business.petrolprices.com/press/

Road vs rail; the routes where it’s cheaper to drive

Road vs rail; the routes where it’s cheaper to drive

New research by PetrolPrices.com has revealed that it is cheaper to travel by road than by rail, with analysis showing that train fares are up to 13 times more expensive than driving.

The comparison of 20 journeys around Britain at peak and off-peak times showed that taking a car was cheaper every time – even though the cost of petrol has recently reached a six-month high. Some fares were over £200 more expensive than the same journey by road and this applied to across peak and off-peak fares.

Peak journeys ranged from three to thirteen times the price of driving, and off-peak journeys ranged from just under three times to nearly ten times the cost of driving.

As part of the research, fuel information site and app, PetrolPrices.com looked at the fuel cost for 20 journeys travelling in Britain’s best-selling cars, the Ford Fiesta (petrol) and the Volkswagen Golf (diesel). These figures were then compared with the cost of a peak return rail ticket, booked a day in advance, leaving at around 8am and returning at a similar time the following day.

Peak Travel: Rail versus road
Journey Cost of peak return ticket* Cost of unleaded petrol in the Fiesta Difference in price Rail more by
Luton to Cambridge £84.60 £6.40 £78.20 x13
Southampton to Bath £125.70 £11.79 £113.91 x10.5
London to Manchester £327 £33.97 £293.03 x9.5
Luton to Liverpool £289 £31.29 £257.71 x9
London to Birmingham £170 £19.87 £150.13 x8.5
York to Bath £344.70 £40.59 £304.11 x8.5
Oxford to Newcastle £326.40 £46.17 £280.23 x7
Leeds to Bath £257.60 £36.75 £220.85 x7
Oxford to Manchester £170.20 £27.88 £142.32 x6.1
Birmingham to Manchester £86.90 £14.83 £72.07 x6
Luton to Newcastle £202.30 £43.38 £158.92 x4.5
London to Edinburgh £101 £32.94 £68.06 x3
Petrol costs from PetrolPrices.com based on distance travelled and cost of fuel in the starting town or city. Calculations for a Ford Fiesta based on a 1litre engine and manufacturer’s claimed fuel economy of 65.7mpg and based on return journey. Rail prices quoted on the trainline.com, leaving around 8am on Weds May 8th and returning on Thursday May 9 at around 8am, with quotes obtained on Tuesday May 7.
Off Peak Travel: Rail versus road
Journey Cost of off-peak return ticket* Cost of unleaded petrol in the Fiesta Difference in price Rail more by
Luton to Cambridge £63.20 £6.40 £56.80 x9.9
Southampton to Bath £32.40 £11.79 £20.61 x2.7
London to Manchester £89.60 £33.79 £55.81 x2.7
Luton to Liverpool £75.70 £31.29 £44.41 x2.4
London to Birmingham £56.70 £19.87 £36.83 x2.85
York to Bath £124.75 £40.59 £84.16 x3
Oxford to Newcastle £153.10 £46.17 £106.93 x3.3
Leeds to Bath £261.60 £36.75 £224.85 x7.1
Oxford to Manchester £80.55 £27.88 £52.67 x2.9
Birmingham to Manchester £39.60 £14.83 £24.77 x2.7
Luton to Newcastle £125.30 £43.38 £81.92 x2.9
London to Edinburgh £238.00 £32.94 £205.06 x7.2
Petrol costs from PetrolPrices.com based on distance travelled and cost of fuel in the starting town or city. Calculations for a Ford Fiesta based on a 1litre engine and manufacturer’s claimed fuel economy of 65.7mpg and based on return journey. Rail prices quoted on the trainline.com, leaving around 9am on Sat May 18th and returning within a month, with quotes obtained on Wednesday May 15th.

The research showed that a return from Luton to Cambridge cost £84.60 at peak times, costs 13 times more than the £6.40 spend to drive the 40 miles between the two. It was also one of the highest off-peak comparisons costing nearly ten times more that of the car journey. Anyone travelling by train on this route is forced to change in London because there is no direct link. A peak return from Luton to Newcastle, also via London, was £202.30, while the petrol cost for the round trip in a Ford Fiesta was around £43.50.

Says Kitty Bates of PetrolPrices.com: “With some train fares costing up to thirteen times the cost of driving, our research shows that despite the recent increases in the price of fuel, road is still a cheaper way to travel than rail. Savvy drivers can save even more by checking for the cheapest or best value station stations near to their home, en route, or at their destination. This is because fuel prices can vary massively across the country; with up to a 30ppl difference between the cheapest station and the most expensive motorway station. We have calculated that PetrolPrices members save around £200 a year by comparing petrol stations near them, with many surprised to discover nearby petrol stations they never even knew existed.”

The news comes as nationally petrol prices increased by 5p a litre last month. This is the second highest price rise since 2000, with May 2018 being the highest, and it comes as retailers pass on wholesale price increases to customers after the cost of oil increased by more than $3 a barrel. The increase is expected to add around £3 to the cost of filling up an average family car, with the average price of a tank now sitting at £70. However, as the research shows, taking the car over the train still works out as a more cost-effective option, especially if there is more than one passenger travelling.

For editors interested in covering this story, please visit the Press page for more contact details and information.

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