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M5 in fuel prices trial
publication date: Nov 6, 2015
author/source: Robin Roberts
Drivers using a section of the M5, between Bristol and Exeter, will soon benefit from new signs showing the price of fuel along the motorway.
The move is part of a trial by Highways England designed to give drivers more information to help their journeys and to boost competition on fuel prices. Five motorway service areas are involved in the trial which, depending on results, could ultimately be rolled out nationally.
Electronic message signs will show the price of fuel at Gordano, Sedgemoor, Bridgwater, Taunton Deane and Exeter motorway service areas.
RAC spokesman Simon Williams said, "While long overdue, this trial is very welcome as motorway drivers are regularly paying up to 10p a litre more than the national average for their fuel or, compared to the cheapest retailers, up to 15p more. A move to introduce motorway fuel price signs, already commonplace on continental roads, is therefore welcome and something the RAC has been calling for.
"We believe motorway service area operators take advantage of drivers having to make distressed purchases so the more information motorists have about the costs they face if they opt to stop at a motorway to fill up, the better – although ultimately drivers will still be faced with a choice between one expensive fuel retailer and another.
"The Government now needs to provide clarity on what measures will be used to confirm if the signs trial has been successful or not. Part of the problem remains the fact that motorway service stations are monopolies and feel they can fleece the motorist at each turn. A public display of just how expensive motorway fuel is has to be a step in the right direction, but attention should also be given to making prices fairer for motorists in the first place.
"Eighteen months also seems like a long time for a trial – so the reality for most motorists is that we are still a number of years away from full fuel price transparency on our motorways."