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Plan for petrol price signs on motorways abandoned

John Wood ·
motorway price signs

Motorway fuel price signs will not be rolled out across the network, after a pilot scheme failed to deliver the hoped for benefits, Highways England has announced.

Signs showing the price of fuel at up-coming motorway service stations were introduced on a section of the M5 between Bristol and Exeter in 2016.

At the time government ministers said they were aware motorists were concerned about the price of petrol at service stations, and it was hoped the signs would make it easier to plan their breaks around the cheapest deals.

But the agency has published the findings of its trial concluding that it has not delivered sufficient impact or cost benefit.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “We had hoped this trial would help to promote an element of competition among motorway services’ fuel operators by overtly displaying prices to drivers, but sadly all it’s proved is that motorway fuel is extremely expensive wherever you buy it.

“This has been a very costly trial that has unfortunately confirmed what we already knew that motorway service area operators take advantage of drivers having to make ‘distressed’ fuel purchases.

"The RAC does not know of any reason why buying fuel on the motorway should be on average 16p a litre more expensive than buying it elsewhere. We urge the Government to investigate fuel pricing at motorway services to make it fairer for every motorist who needs to fill up at one.

“It is, however, positive that Highways England is now looking at re-using the technology infrastructure that was installed for the signs trial so that the investment is not completely wasted and that some good can still come from it.”

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