Could Motorway Petrol Prices About To Be Slashed?

Fri 30th Mar 2018

The cost of refuelling at motorway petrol stations can be one of the most frustrating elements of having to drive long distance journeys.

It’s a problem which is getting worse, with latest figures revealing that the difference in a litre of petrol from motorway services is not on everage 17.6p, compated to only 7.5p seven years ago.

It’s an issue which the UK’s transport secretary, Chris Grayling, has promised to tackle and he’s gone so far as to write a letter to Andrea Coscelli of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

“I am writing to raise concerns and request that the CMA consider opening an investigation into the retail price at Motorway Service Areas (MSAs),” Grayling said in his letter.

“I am concerned that prices which are higher than other forecourts may exploit users in a situation where there is less choice and competition, and discourage motorists from stopping and re-fuelling when, for safety reasons, they should.

“I would welcome a view from the CMA on whether the three private companies that currently operate the majority of MSAs are exercising market power to the detriment of motorists.”

The three private companies to which Grayling is referring to are Moto, Welcome Break and Road Chef, and it’s more than likely that if you have visited any of the 112 motorway services in the UK it will have been owned by one of those three.

Though Grayling is understanding that motorway services often have higher operating costs than normal garages, he suggests that the huge different in prices cannot be fully explained.

The RAC were delighted with the news, Simon Williams, the organisation’s spokesman telling Auto Express : "We have long called for something to be done about the cost of motorway fuel because there's nothing to justify the sky-high price. Drivers filling up at motorway services often put in the bare minimum but this can easily backfire. Running out of fuel on a motorway puts lives at risk."