Motorway service stations to be shamed into cutting fuel prices

Government says cost per litre should be displayed on road signs to discourage stations from fleecing drivers

Motorway service stations could soon be shamed into lowering their petrol prices after criticism that they are fleecing drivers by charging 10p a litre more than other garages.

The inflated cost of motorway petrol is among the most common complaints of Britain’s drivers. At the moment, most motorists only discover they are having to pay over the odds once they have pulled off the motorway. Now the Government may force service stations to advertise their prices well before drivers reach the site.

According to Experian Catalist, the average price on motorway service stations is 142.49p for unleaded and 147.61p for diesel. At hypermarkets, the average cost is 131.43p for unleaded and 136.20 for diesel. The overall average UK fuel price is 133.22p a litre for unleaded and 138.05p for diesel. Yesterday, at the Clacket Lane service station on the M25 in Surrey, unleaded cost 145.9p a litre and diesel 150.9p.

One proposal is to include details of prices on road signs giving the distance to the nearest service stations, which happens in France. Signs on the hard shoulder could also display the prices at the next few motorway stops, enabling motorists to compare prices. The Government’s aim is to drive down by prices by forcing petrol retailers to be more competitive.

David Cameron has asked the Downing Street Policy Unit to draw up firm proposals. It will be seen as a response to Labour’s criticism that the Government is insensitive to cost of living issues affecting millions of people. Last night the RAC welcomed Mr Cameron’s proposal. Pete Williams, a spokesman, said: “Motorway drivers have long been the victims of some pretty indefensible pricing at the pumps with many service stations charging on average 10p extra per litre above the ‘high-street’ or supermarket forecourt price.

“Compelling the fuel retailer to display their prices clearly before the service station will ensure that drivers get some warning of how much they are likely to be fleeced when they fill up.

“This is welcome news for motorists and commercial drivers but we still need motorway services to be transparent and fair on all their prices. They have held the motorist to ransom for far too long – let’s hope that Number 10 encourages them to sort out their food prices and their parking charges too.”

A Downing Street source said: “The cost of living is the number one issue for people up and down the country. There is nothing more frustrating than pulling off the motorway to find a sky-high petrol or diesel price. Giving people more information while they are still on the motorway will mean a greater choice about where they fill up, and should help drive down prices.

"The Policy Unit will look more generally at how transparency can drive down prices. We have acted already on energy prices, to ensure people get put on the lowest tariff, and we will look at other areas to see what more we can do.”

A report by the Office for Fair Trading (OFT) into fuel prices in January was highly critical of the cost of motorway petrol. It concluded that service station prices were inflated by 7.5p per litre for unleaded and 8p for diesel and suggested the lack of transparency of pricing was a factor.  It said: “Fuel is often significantly more expensive at motorway service stations. The OFT is concerned that drivers are not able to view prices until they have pulled into the motorway service station.”

 

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz