Service station robbery

11 February 2011

Would you pay twice as much for a coffee in one shop, a few streets away from another café selling that exact same coffee? Of course not. But everyday people are being forced to pay twice as much, or more, for food, drinks and petrol at service stations.

Yes it’s nothing new, everyone knows this happens and it always has. But that is no reason to be complacent. Why should we just bow down and pay these prices and accept this is the way it is?
Because those choosing the prices at service stations hold all the cards. They know people will have to stop and buy their over-priced goods along the way, and if you’re doing a long journey you’ll need to take regular breaks.
Roadchef and Moto say they have to charge more because of the extra costs involved with later opening hours and their remote locations.
But there are service stations around the world and none appear to be quite as costly as those here in the UK. Travelling across America you see them every few miles and don’t have to pay above the odds for a snack or to refuel your car - so why do the UK service stations get away with it?
Spending £1.91 instead of £1 on bottled water, £1.15 instead of £1 on an M&S Sausage roll (a personal favourite) or £1.96 instead of £1.70 for a double espresso is extortionate. I don’t drive that much so it’s only once in a while I’m stung by these huge costs, but for those who travel a lot it’s adding gigantic and unnecessary fees onto their yearly expenses.
There are websites that can help, including and, two handy tools for finding fuel and food outlets close to motorway junctions. But instead of travelling off the motorway in search of cheaper places, or planning well and buying, making and packing food, most people will opt for the ease and convenience of stopping along the motorway and end up coughing up the extra money.
But this has been going on for too long, the water in these service stations isn’t holy so why should we have to pay 91% more for it than on the high street? It’s time something is changed and this UK tradition ends. 

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