Taking that break whilst driving proves to be a rather expensive affair
Motorway drivers are being charged up to 91 per cent more for drinks and snacks at service stations compared with the high street, consumer experts say.
WH Smith, Marks & Spencer and Burger King have been accused of taking advantage of millions of motorists who have little alternative if they want to stop to eat.
The high price of stopping off for a snack comes on top of the premium drivers have to pay for petrol and diesel from motorway petrol stations.
WH Smith was found to be imposing the biggest mark-ups, according to What Car? researchers.
A 750ml bottle of Buxton water was £1.91 at the chain’s motorway branches – 91 per cent more than the £1 at its high street stores.
Meanwhile, a 500ml bottle of Coke was 18.2 per cent more, at £1.69.
Marks & Spencer has made a move into service stations with its Simply Food outlets. The survey found its still Scottish water was 25 per cent more expensive there, with a price of £1, while its egg and bacon sandwich was 16 per cent more at £2.90.
Hot food was also considerably more expensive. A Burger King double cheeseburger meal came in at £6.15 on the motorway, which is 12 per cent more than a normal outlet.
The high prices were condemned by the AA’s head of road policy, Paul Watters, who said: ‘Britain’s motorway service services are still too expensive, and we don’t think tired drivers should be deterred from stopping for a break by high prices.’
The researchers found that unleaded petrol was typically 5.2 per cent more expensive at a motorway service station, while diesel was marked up by 3.4 per cent.
What Car? said consumers filling their tanks solely at motorway services would pay on average £77 more per year. Its editor-in-chief, Steve Fowler, said: ‘It is unforgiveable for retailers to take advantage of motorists in such a brazen manner.
‘We suggest that all motorway users plan their journeys carefully and try to avoid using such greedy retailers as much as possible.’
A number of websites and books offer alternative places to buy petrol and food. These include 5minutesaway.co.uk and Offmotorway.com.
The retailers blamed franchise partners for the higher prices. A WH Smith spokesman said: ‘The overall line-by-line pricing is set by RoadChef, Moto and Welcome Break within broad pricing strategy guidelines given by WH Smith.’
Burger King said: ‘We continue to work closely with our franchise partners who set the prices in the Burger King travel and leisure restaurants to keep prices in line with the rest of the estate.’
Maybe the solution is to take a packed lunch and a bottle filled with tap water!
|Comments||Post a comment|
17 March 2011, 01:07PM
As a single Mum with my parents living 200 miles away there is no way I can afford to pay for lunch with 3 children. I always make a packed lunch before I set off and have bottles of water available.
17 March 2011, 01:33PM
Having read Kayte's article I am disgusted by how much more service stations charge. I occasionally travel long distances for weekends away and admit that I usually stop to stretch my legs and grab a bottle of water and a snack. I was aware that the prices were slightly higher than what I would normally pay but never imagined they were in some cases 91% higher.
4 April 2011, 01:59AM
There is no reason for this rip off mentality. If the French can provide a good service in their Autoroute service stations with fresh food and clean environment, why can we not do it?
4 April 2011, 11:29AM
Another example of rip of Britain!!! It is ridiculous that we pay such high premium. I always make sure that I have bottled water in the car and even now when I am in restaurants I ask for tap water. Why should we have to pay for something that should be free?
|Nissan unveils new London Taxi|
|Porsche 918 tests in iconic Martini colours|
|Volkswagen Group goes from strength to strength|
|Are you a sleepy head behind the wheel?|
|Do older drivers pose a threat on our roads?|
|Personalised number plates; a way to attract?|
|Top Gear review Range Rover Evoque|
|That missing spare wheel|
|The five worst roads in Britain|
|Mileage allowance fails to keep pace with costs.|
|The Car Supermarket Option|
|The all new Range Rover Evoque|