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With many road users keeping an keen eye on the price at different forecourts in order to find the cheapest deal, if there is one topic that is bound to get drivers talking it is fuel prices. However, one place you are unlikely to find cheap fuel is at a motorway service station and while many drivers resent having to pay inflated prices for fuel during long motorway trips – the truth is that many are left with little option as they watch the fuel dial move ever closer to the red.
Motorway Sign Trial
However, this might be about to change as from next year motorway drivers will be able to identify the cheapest place to fill up their tanks – thanks to a trial involving new signs which display petrol prices at motorway service stations.
The electronic roadside signs will inform drivers about the price of petrol as they approach service stations. It is hoped that this will save drivers money by encouraging petrol stations to cut their prices. The signs will initially be trailed on a section of the M5 motorway between Bristol and Exeter and could be rolled out nationwide if they prove to be a success.
This initial trial will run for 18 months from the beginning of next year and will involve Highways England monitoring the impact the signs have on fuel prices and if there are any safety issues, such as drivers avoiding filling up and running out of fuel.
Mike Wilson, chief engineer for Highways England said, “We want road users to be more informed and in better control of their journeys. This means they’ll be better prepared, more inclined to plan breaks and have a positive driving experience.”
However, he went on to warn, “It’s still very important for motorists to properly plan their journeys and ensure they have sufficient fuel. Running out of fuel on motorways can be hazardous to yourself and other drivers.”
Anger at Petrol Prices
The trial comes amid anger from motorist following a claim by the RAC that motorway service stations where holding drivers to ransom by charging up to 16p per litre more for fuel than other petrol stations just a few miles away.
The study conducted by Experian Capital, showed that average prices on motorways in Britain were 8p above the national average for petrol and 10p higher for diesel. At the services on the M4 at Reading, BP was charging 16p more for a litre of petrol and 13p more for a litre of diesel when compared to an Esso petrol station in nearby Shinfield.
It is calculated that an extra 15p per litre adds around £8 to the cost of a full tank of an average family car. Roads minister Andrew Jones said that the trial showed that the government “is on the side of the honest motorists who have raised concerns for too long about petrol prices at motorway service stations”.
While the trial is clearly good news for motorist, we will have to wait and see what impact this actually has at the pump.