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Two-thirds of drivers want fuel price cap at motorway services

By / 5 years ago / Latest News / No Comments

Three-quarters of the 1,463 motorists (74%) surveyed by the RAC Opinions Panel said motorway fuel is “very expensive” and one in four (26%) drivers refuse to buy petrol or diesel at services as a result.

63% said prices should be capped so fuel is no more expensive than non-motorway forecourts while 27% would be happy with fuel being capped at just a few pence over the non-motorway price, and only 10% believe nothing needs to be done.

Almost half (44%) say they only buy fuel at motorway services when they have no other choice, because they feel like they are being held to ransom over the price.

There is also real concern about drivers risking their fuel tanks running dry rather than filling up at motorway services, posing a real danger on the nation’s fastest roads. In fact, one in five (19%) admits to putting in “just enough fuel to get by” at a motorway services to then find a cheaper alternative later.

The RAC, which deals with around 22,000 incidents of running out of fuel each year, claims it is unacceptable that motorists should have to pay a premium on motorways.

RAC fuel spokesman, Simon Williams, commented: ‘It’s no wonder that motorists feel held to ransom with prices on the motorways inflated to such an extent. In some cases motorway petrol and diesel might even be 15p dearer than the cheapest forecourts which would add as much as £8 to the price of a tank of an average family-sized vehicle.

‘We can see no reason why motorway fuel should be so much more expensive. In fact, arguably it is much easier from a delivery point of view than it is getting fuel to urban filling stations. Questions need to be asked to find out what reasons motorway service operators have for charging such increased prices.’

The issue of giving motorists advance warning of motorway fuel prices – something that the RAC says the government had pledged to address last year but as yet has not actioned – was also a concern.

Some 76% of motorists surveyed say service stations should display the price of their fuel well before the exit so they know how much it costs before leaving the motorway.

In May 2013, as part of a review into motorway fuel prices, David Cameron said motorway services could be forced to advertise their fuel prices in advance, but to date there has been no obvious progress in making these changes, nor has there been an update on tackling high motorway fuel prices.

Motorway fuel prices v non-motorway

Experian Catalist average motorway fuel prices for September 2014 compared to national average fuel prices.

Gordano Services M5 Bristol – Shell – petrol 132.9p, diesel 139.9p; Sainsbury’s Portishead two miles away petrol 123.9p, diesel 127.9p

Reading services M4 – BP – 137.9p petrol, diesel 138.9. Six miles away in Shinfield – Esso – 121.9p petrol and 125.9p diesel.

Membury Services M4 east and west – petrol 135.9p, diesel 139.9p – four miles away Texaco Hungerford petrol 127.9p; diesel 131.9p

Leigh Delamere M4 – petrol 135.9p, diesel 139.9p; 8 miles away (J17) Lower Stanton St Quinton (Murco) petrol 123.9p, diesel 128.9p

Sandbach services M6 – Esso – petrol 132.9p, diesel 139.9; five miles away (J16) Shell petrol 124.9p, diesel 130.9p

Knutsford services M6 – BP – petrol 135.9p, diesel 139.9p; half a mile further on off at J19 Esso petrol 126.9p, diesel 132.9p

Leicester Forest East services M1 – BP – petrol 132.9p, diesel 139.9p; two miles away at Fosse Park Leicester Sainsbury’s petrol 120.9p, diesel 124.9p 

Petrol only

Staffordshire North Services – M6 Northbound services – petrol 135.7p; at J15 5-6 miles away 125p at BP

Diesel only

BP at Clacket Lane Services M25 J5 to 6 – diesel 144p; Shell at J6 4 miles away diesel is 130p. Other local stations between 127p and 130p.

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Katie Beck

Katie joined Fleet World in 2012 as an editorial intern, following the completion of an English and American Literature BA from the University of East Anglia. She accepted a full-time position as an editorial assistant at the end of the internship period, and was promoted to the role of features editor in 2014. She works across the magazine and website portfolio, and administrates the social media channels.