If you’re traveling any distance in our rental vehicles, chances are you’ll need to take a break at a service station. But before you buy drinks, snacks or fuel, consider this…
It won’t come as a surprise to know that when you fill your hire car with fuel, or fill yourself with drinks and snacks, you’ll pay more on the motorway that you will anywhere else. Service stations have always charged more – a simple matter of supply and demand – but you might be surprised by just how much more.
According to research by insurer Admiral, you’ll pay an average 14% more to fuel your rental van at services than you will off-motorway. And when you head inside for refreshment, prices increase even more, with drivers forking out an average of 117% of supermarket prices.
Following a survey of 21 services across the UK, Admiral’s other findings included:
- Water is the most overpriced purchase in shops (despite being available for free in many service stations)
- Durham services on the A1(M) is the most expensive for snacks and drinks. Lancaster (M6) and Woolley Edge (M1) are joint second
- There was a 20p per litre difference between the service station selling the cheapest unleaded (129.9p) and the most expensive (149.9p)
How to avoid motorway service prices
It’s easy to avoid being stung by motorway services prices. Your hire car may need to make a stop or two (unless everyone has an iron bladder) to reach your weekend getaway, but you won’t necessarily need to buy anything if you follow these tips:
- Take a packed lunch. If you’re not wild about warm sandwiches, store them in a cool bag or box
- Do the same with drinks, although if you plan to have snacks on the go, remember not to pack the cool bag in the boot
- Buy sweets, crisps etc from the supermarket before you leave
- Fill up there too. According to Admiral’s figures, you could pay up to 25p per litre less
- Download the refill.org.uk app to find places across the UK helping to keep Britain hydrated (and reduce the use of single use plastic) by allowing travellers to refill water bottles for free