Drivers who leave the motorway to avoid service stations and fill up locally can save up to £20

Drivers are being urged to avoid filling up in motorway service stations and instead make a detour off the carriageway where petrol is cheaper.

Pumps at some of the UK’s motorway fuel stops are as much as 37p per litre more expensive than alternatives nearby.

And although exiting the motorway to refuel at a local garage will guzzle up a bit more petrol, it could save motorists up to £20, according to research.

Drivers are being urged to avoid filling up in motorway service stations and instead make a detour off the carriageway where petrol is cheaper (stock image)A

Drivers are being urged to avoid filling up in motorway service stations and instead make a detour off the carriageway where petrol is cheaper (stock image)A

Drivers are being urged to avoid filling up in motorway service stations and instead make a detour off the carriageway where petrol is cheaper (stock image)

although exiting the motorway to refuel at a local garage will guzzle up a bit more petrol, it could save motorists up to £20, according to research

although exiting the motorway to refuel at a local garage will guzzle up a bit more petrol, it could save motorists up to £20, according to research

Although exiting the motorway to refuel at a local garage will guzzle up a bit more petrol, it could save motorists up to £20, according to research (stock image)

‘Our research shows that many motorway service stations are pricing their fuel well over the odds, with some stations charging up to 37p a litre more than their nearest forecourt operator,’ Kitty Bates of PetrolPrices.com told the Sunday Times.

The study 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.

But they could save £20 if instead they pulled off the motorway and refilled at the Shell pumps in Godstone, Surrey, and the Tesco Extra in Exeter Vale. 

Similarly, filling up at Bridgewater on the M5 costs 148.9p per litre, whereas there is a gas station 2.5 miles away offering a cost-cutting rate of 119.9p per litre. 

The average price hike in fuel on motorway service stations is 13p for unleaded and 21p for diesel.

Last month, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling hit out at motorway service stations sky-high fuel prices and accused them of ‘taking advantage of drivers’.

Pumps at some of the UK's motorway service stations (London Gateway on M1 pictured) are as much as 37p per litre more expensive than alternatives nearby.

Pumps at some of the UK's motorway service stations (London Gateway on M1 pictured) are as much as 37p per litre more expensive than alternatives nearby.

Pumps at some of the UK’s motorway service stations (London Gateway on M1 pictured) are as much as 37p per litre more expensive than alternatives nearby.

He called on the service stations to design apps which enable motorists to check the price of fuel before embarking on their journey.

But research from the RAC suggested that 44 per cent of drivers elect not to fill up on the motorway.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: ‘While we welcome the idea of motorway fuel retailers sharing their pricing data in terms of better transparency, the reality is any app will only tell drivers what they already know – that motorway fuel prices are unbelievably expensive.’

‘Research we have conducted among drivers showed that nearly half would never buy fuel on the motorway anyway.’ 

Motorway services reportedly justify their lofty price hikes by pointing to higher overheads.

But Howard Cox, the founder of Fair Fuel UK, said that this was ‘absolute bunkum’ and that they charge what they want. 

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