Need To Refuel? Here’s Why You Should Give Motorway Services A Miss

During lockdown, it’s unlikely you’ll be burning through much fuel. But, when restrictions end, you might want to give motorway services a miss the next time you need a top-up. Here’s why…

‘Extortionate Prices’

It’s something a lot of us have suspected for a long time; motorway service stations are overcharging drivers for fuel. And it’s not difficult to see the logic behind their decision. Millions of us burn through petrol or diesel cruising down the motorway each and everyday; and no one wants to get stranded on the M5. In short, they know we’ll pay more out of convenience and they take advantage of that. But new research has revealed just how disturbing the disparity really is.

Conducted by, the research has shed light on the enormous differences between motorway service prices and regular station prices. In fact, leaving the motorway for a local station could mean paying a whopping 37 pence less per litre. For example, on the M1 near Leicester Forest East, you’ll pay 167.9 pence per litre of diesel. Refuel at the local Sainsbury’s instead, however, an you’ll pay just 130.9 pence. It’s a similar situation on the M5 in Somerset. A litre of petrol will set you back 148.9 pence at Bridgwater services. But, again, get off and refuel at Sainsbury’s and you’ll fork out 119.9 pence per litre. So even with an extra 2.5 miles travelled, you’re still paying less.

Overdue Investigations

According to, the government has been pledging to investigate service station fuel prices for years. In addition, it doesn’t have much confidence in recent proposals to keep tabs on what’s being charged. Kitty Bakes, consumer spokesperson for the company, explained the situation. She said, “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.” She added, “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. For Chris Grayling to suggest a live fuel pricing service for motorway service areas seems almost pointless. A trial on the M6 a year or so ago made no difference to prices, as no alternative cheaper station was shown.”

So, in other words, it’s unwise to fill up at a motorway services. Whilst there will be variations from region to region, the chances are you’ll be better off taking time to refuel once you leave the motorway. If you absolutely must refuel at the services, just fill your tank up to the necessary level to reach the nearest local station. In addition, you can save on your fuel by adjusting your driving habits, sticking to the speed limit and keeping your vehicle light.

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The Autoserve Club can save you time, money and stress. Club Members can receive discounts on servicing and new tyres and will gain access to our professional 24/7 helpline. To learn more, contact our friendly Service Advisers on 0121 521 3500 today.

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