MOTORWAY FUEL PRICES EXPLOIT MOTORISTS, SAYS TRANSPORT SECRETARY

Chris Grayling calls for motorway fuel retailers to share live price data via apps and sat-navs.

Motorway fuel retailers should share live pricing information to prevent drivers being taken advantage of, the transport secretary has said.

Chris Grayling has contacted a number of motorway service station operators, asking them to list how much they are charging for petrol and diesel at their motorway forecourts at any one time on smartphone apps and sat-navs.

If motorists were able to access this data in advance, rather than having to pull off the motorway and drive to the forecourt, they would be able to better plan motorway journeys and work out where to get the cheapest fuel. In addition, the Department for Transport has suggested that the data could be used by autonomous vehicles in future.

Petrol and diesel prices at motorway service stations can be around 15p per litre more expensive than at other retailers.

Grayling said that, if motorway fuel retailers decline to make their live pricing data openly available in the way he has suggested, he will launch an “urgent review” into how motorists can refuel affordably.

“Fuel prices are highest on motorways, taking advantage of drivers who have less choice when it comes to shopping around,” said Grayling. “Accessing this data on a smartphone or sat-nav means motorists can plan ahead and refuel safely at the best possible price.”

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams commented: “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.”

Williams added that RAC research has shown 44 per cent of drivers “would never buy fuel on the motorway”, advising motorists to try and find forecourts that charge at or below the average price of fuel.