The government has announced that it’s to push ahead with plans to force motorway service stations to display fuel prices.
According to ministers, requiring all motorway fuel stations to display their prices will encourage competition and lower fuel prices after complaints that motorway stations rip drivers off.
Fuel prices at The Budget
The announcements were made as part of the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s annual Autumn Statement, which outlines budgeting and economic predictions for the coming year.
According to the government, the Department for Transport will start by trialling new fuel comparison signs at five service stations on the M5. Following the trial period, it’s expected that the signs will be rolled out nationwide by the end of next year.
Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said: Today’s announcement will ensure people can see the cheapest places to fill up, encouraging greater competition between service stations.”
“For too long drivers have been ripped off by petrol prices on motorways. This government wants to support the hardworking people of Britain and build a fairer society.”
The trial follows from reports by the Office of Fair Trading in January last year, which noted that the introduction of more publicly accessible information on UK fuel prices was necessary.
Price difference at motorway services
According to the OFT’s figures, fuel sold at motorway stations was 7.5p per litre more expensive for petrol and 8.3p per litre for diesel more expensive that fuel stations around the rest of the UK.
Both motoring groups and drivers have shown widespread support for the idea, claiming that the introduction of compulsory price signs would help to even the playing field for motorists.
Neil Greig, from the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “We at the IAM greatly welcome this move, at last it will give motorway users the chance to compare prices and not feel ‘held to ransom’ at hefty premium prices charged on these routes.
“Using a motorway should not be seen as a penalty, and service station operators need to think long and hard about the charges they make. They should not see motorway users as a ‘cash cow.’”
He added: “We also see fairer prices on motorway fuel as just the start – there is no justification for such eye-watering prices for food, refreshments or other such essentials.”
Other plans from the government announced in the Autumn Statement include the allocation of a multi-billion pound budget for improving the conditions of the British roads.
A total of £15bn has been earmarked by the government, which will be poured into the construction of new roads to ease congestion and the upkeep of existing routes, due to be completed by 2021.