Fuel prices at some motorway service areas are to be slashed by 15p per liter in coming months.
Moto, the UK’s largest service station operator, has said it will initially cut prices at five locations with the intention to roll out the reductions to the rest of its sites in the future.
Fuel prices at motorway services are usually around 20p per liter more expensive than the UK average and campaigners have long claimed drivers are being exploited by forecourt operators.
Moto says the cut should bring the price of petrol and diesel to within 10p per liter of supermarket filling stations, which are usually the cheapest outlets.
The move comes after the operator secured permission to install roadside price displays at five locations on the motorway network.
Approval for the new displays followed a trial at Moto’s Frankley site on the M5 which resulted in more motorists stopping to refuel, enabling prices to be lowered.
If the latest attempts are successful the firm says it hopes to introduce the signs and lower prices at all 47 of its service areas.
Chief executive Ken McMeikan urged other motorway forecourt operators to follow Moto’s lead and bring motorway fuel costs in line with high street forecourts.
He said: “Today marks a hugely important next step in improving fuel price transparency on the motorways and in helping motorists’ money go further.
“We want to move quickly to install the signage and reduce prices at our sites as fast as we can.
“We have worked tirelessly to show National Highways that the new signage is a very sensitive measure that will allow us to reduce prices for motorists.
“If other motorway operators also look to install the new fuel signage and lower prices at their sites, motorists will see fuel prices comparable to local high street forecourts up and down the UK’s motorways.”
The RAC’s fuel spokesman Simon Williams said the “bold” move would benefit drivers. He said: “For years drivers have been confused as to why motorway fuel is so expensive and, as a result, many have actively avoided buying fuel at services, or only topped up with the bare minimum to get them to their destinations.
“Now drivers will be able to fill up on the motorway safe in the knowledge that they’ll be paying a fair price.
“We strongly urge all the other motorway service operators to follow Moto’s lead.”
New figures from the RAC show average prices at UK forecourts rose by less than 1p per liter in January, reaching 146p for petrol and 150p for diesel on Monday.
The organization said drivers were getting a “better deal” as retailers cut their profit margins to “more normal levels”.
But it warned that “storm clouds are gathering” as wholesale oil prices hit seven-year highs, with retailers likely to pass at least some of the cost onto motorists.
Motorcycle service areas where prices are being cut
- Leigh Delamere eastbound and westbound between junctions 17 and 18 on the M4 near Chippenham, Wiltshire
- Lancaster northbound and southbound MSAs between junctions 32 and 33 on the M6
- Doncaster MSA at junction 5 of the M18