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High price of a motorway stop.

AS North-East motorists prepare to travel around the country during the summer season they are being advised to avoid rip-off motorway service shops.

Research conducted by road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists reveals that motorway service areas are charging up to four times the high street price for basic food and drinks.

Essentials such as a 500ml bottle of water cost PS2.09 in comparison to just 95pon the high street.

A simple cheese sandwich averages just a penny under four pounds, which four times the price on the high street.

The motorway service stations claim that they have to pay high rents even though they are a fraction of than those in London's Oxford Street or Newcastle's Northumberland Street, where the price of the goods is so much lower.

The IAM says that the motorway service station prices are so much higher because they have a monopoly among drivers and their families desperate for food and drinks.

"Motorists are dissatisfied with the value for money at motorway service areas but are left with little choice when making long trips around the country. When asked to rate the price of food and drinks at motorway service areas more than half of respondents rated them as "unreasonable."

"The survey also found that, as a result, 65% of respondents are most likely only to stop at motorway service areas just to use the toilet facilities."

Price comparisons include: | A medium white coffee PS3.09 (PS2.10 high street) | A standard sized Mars bar 95p (79p high street) | A pack of Walkers crisps PS1.05 (95p high street) | 500ml bottle of water PS2.09 (95p high street) | A basic cheese sandwich PS3.99 (PS1 high street) The exorbitant prices are not only charged for food and drinks. The cost of fuel is also sky-high, according to the survey.

More than half of the respondents consider the price of petrol at motorway service areas is also "unreasonable."

With petrol prices averaging about 10p per litre more than at off-motorway forecourts the IAM is calling for a review of motorway prices.

They are also calling for UK filling stations to be forced to advertise their own and their competitors' fuel prices, as is the case in France.

The research reveals that from one motorway service area to the next, the price of fuel can vary by up to 10p per litre.

Cost of petrol per in pence per litre on the day of the survey: | Hopwood Park M4 144.90 (132.9 off motorway) | Corley M6 144.90 (131.9 off motorway) | Michaelwood M5 142.90 (135.9 off motorway) | Strensham M5 142.90 (133.0 off motorway) | Pont Abraham, Wales M4 141.90 (133.9 off motorway) | Forton M6 141.90 (133.9 off motorway) | Sarn Park M4 133.90 (131.7 off motorway) | Heston Services M4 144.90 (132.8 off motorway) | UK average at supermarkets PS1.313 IAM chief executive Simon Best said: "Motorway service areas are supposed to be for motorists to eat, drink and freshen up. It's very important to have a break every two hours and these costs will put people off stopping. Tired motorists pose a danger to themselves and other road users."

"An average of 17,000 people every year break down on the motorway simply because they have run out of fuel, which can cause lane closures and delays for everyone. High petrol prices will put people off filling up. Forcing stations to advertise their competitors' prices would drive costs down."

A spokesman for the organisation representing UK filling stations said that they face high rents and that in some cases staff have to be provided with transport to reach their place of work.

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BIG DIFFERENCES More than half of drivers in a survey said the cost of fuel on motorways was unreasonable
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 5, 2013
Words:641
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