The simple way to save £20 on fuel
The study by PetrolPrices.com found UK service stations charge up to 37p a litre more than their nearest station as they take advantage of the captive market.
Kitty Bates, consumer spokesperson at PetrolPrices.com, 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.
“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.”
The research found that a five-hour journey from Maidstone to Cornwall would cost £150 if the driver filled a 50-litre tank at Clacket Lane services on the M25 and then Exeter service station on the M5.
However, they could save £20 by pulling off the motorway and refilling at pumps in Godstone, Surrey and the Tesco Extra in Exeter Vale.
The study follows comments by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling in which he called for fuel retailers to allow motorists to check the price of filling up at their forecourt before they travel using a smartphone app after accusing them of “taking advantage of drivers”.
The Transport Secretary wants motorists to be able to view prices so they can better plan motorway journeys and work out where to get the cheapest fuel, a service already provided by PetrolPrices.
How to save money on fuel
If you are keen to save money at the pump, here are six top tips to consider:
1. Shop around for the cheapest fuel
Download the PetrolPrices app to keep you updated on the latest fuel prices while you’re on the road. It has all the filters you need to make sure you find the best fuel near you.
2. Make the most of loyalty offers
The big supermarkets often tempt customers into their shops by reducing their fuel prices. Sometimes they’ll offer money-off vouchers at the till for use at their forecourts, and discounts can be as high as 10 pence off a litre.
3. Think about your speed
You’ll use up to 9 per cent more fuel driving at 70mph than you would at 60mph and up to 25 per cent more fuel travelling at 80mph instead of 70mph. Drive at the lowest speed you can, in the highest gear possible.
4. Get clever with hills
Steep inclines destroy fuel economy. If you spot a hill ahead, slightly speed up before you reach it, then reduce speed as you drive up.
5. Don’t use your air conditioning unless you have to
It uses the power of the engine which increases fuel consumption.
6. Consider making one round trip instead of several short trips.
Engines work at their most efficient once warm. Starting a cold engine several times increases fuel consumption, even though your journey may involve the same number of miles.