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.

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