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 Sainsbury’s 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.
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 overpriced 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 an such as PetrolPrices.comwhich will help them to avoid being ripped off on the motorway. For too long millions of UK motorists have been stung by extortionate motorway service area fuel prices.”
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.
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.