MSE News: The 91% motorway service station mark-up

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Motoring
60 replies 5.6K views


  • rev_henryrev_henry Forumite
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    This isn't news. It was in the Mail today (OH's mother's not mine!) and I expected it of them but not here. Someone's probably already said all the following before but oh well...

    Service areas have higher overheads, in terms of tax, and being obliged to provide free, nice toilets and 2 hrs parking. Amongst other things. They're also restricted in the size of their premises.

    Everyone knows this is a fact. I don't know why everyone doesn't do what I always do and get my satnav to take me to a big supermarket near the motorway. I know where most of the ones near the motorways I usually use are now. I can sit down and have a cheap cup of coffee in the cafe, get a few snacks and a tank of petrol, all at supermarket prices. What would I want that a supermarket doesn't have?
  • MobeerMobeer Forumite
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    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Academoney Grad Photogenic
    bap98189 wrote: »
    It's the same at railway stations, theatres, cinemas etc. ..

    At least at railway stations you can use the Bite card for 20% discount on food. I find it cheaper to eat at Burger King at a train station than on the high street.
  • I don't drive, I take the train. It's cheaper. I take my own food on the train or use my Bite card for 20% off
  • Gorgeous_GeorgeGorgeous_George Forumite
    8K Posts
    People can choose NOT to buy over priced goods.

    Service stations provide facilities and have to be open far longer than a High Street store. Overheads are far less manageable.

    MSE is turing into the Dail Mail - again.

    There are 10 types of people in this world. Those who understand binary and those that don't.
  • Over 80% of the avg cost of petrol is [to keep it simple][email protected]£1.00/ltr = 80p to gov/20p to petco, but since the duty is fixed at xp/ltr the gov's cut doesn't go up, so again price now rises to £1.20/ltr = 80p to gov, and 40p to petco....that's a massive £100% increase in profits for a 25% increase in price.

    it's the same reason that whiskey distillers love the duty on spirits, it lets them rip-off the top end punters

    eg bog std whiskey £10/bottle = £6 duty, £4 profit, glen poser £25/bottle = same £6 duty, a massive £19 profit [five fold increase]...nice
    Hi, we’ve had to remove your signature. If you’re not sure why then you're as thick and stupid as the moderators on here - MSE ForumTeam
  • ViolaLassViolaLass Forumite
    5.8K Posts
    I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who the MSE news articles are sometimes rather lazily written. I think it's a shame that a site that is otherwise quite good and has been useful to many has a news section that concentrates more on the grabby title than the facts of the case.

    I doubt many people come to this site specifically for the news section so why not concentrate less on initial impact and aim for quality journalism instead. Otherwise, what's the point?
  • vikingaerovikingaero Forumite
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    The article also fails to mention the service stations which have M&S and Waitrose where the prices are often printed on the sandwich packs (and sold at he same price irrespective of location) and thus represent good value for the motorist.
    The man without a signature.
  • moonrakerzmoonrakerz Forumite
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    This is a VERY shoddy piece of "Daily Mail" type journalism - shame on you, MSE !

    There are several reasons why M-way service areas are expensive and it is NOTHING to do with making exorbitant profits.

    1. The rents they pay to the Government are exorbitant.
    2. They HAVE to provide a number of FREE services to all travellers on the motorways.
    3. They have to comply with a large number of arcane Laws which were put in place to stop them taking trade away from local shops (ha-ha !)
    (examples: When M&S teamed up with Moto, they had to form a new company containing both names because they weren't allowed to put M&S and Moto on the same signs as individual companies.
    Why can't they sell booze ?)
    4. They have to be open 24hrs a day, 364 days a year - the main shops can close on Christmas Day but the petrol forecourt and limited food/drink must still be available - and of course, Toilets - for free !

    I get rather tired of people complaining about service areas - but these self same people are only too happy to use their loos and buy a cup of "exorbitant" coffee at 3 o'clock in the morning ! Of course if they don't like the price they can always go elsewhere :D:D
  • It makes me angry that airports charge high prices for bottled water and soft drinks when the liquid restrictions are in place.

    They should make their prices supermarket prices. Fine before the liquid restrictions as I used to go to the supermarket and buy drinks that were on offer.
  • Real MSEs would plan their journeys so they never use the services anyway: making sure they've got enough fuel in the tank to complete their journey, packing food and drink for the journey etc.
    The reality is that most don't, just jump in their car and drive, and love the convenience of stopping when they need, and without service stations, you'd be up the creek without a paddle.

    I use MSAs for food; it's convenient and you know you can get what you want without having to hunt down transport cafes in the back end of nowhere. The price differential on food is relatively trivial for the number of times I use them, I can afford to spend 50p more on a burger or a quid more for a full English on the odd occasion. But I won't buy petrol at them unless I absolutely have to, and if I do absolutely have to then I only buy as much as will get me to my destination where I then fill up at the nearest supermarket - I won't put a full tank's worth in at an MSA.

    The convenience and facilities of MSAs do, in my opinion, justify the cost for food - having somewhere easy to find, with things like free wifi as well, make them a good place to stop to eat. Without the aid of local knowledge, it's hard to find alternatives to MSAs for somewhere to have lunch without being prepared to spend a lot of time trailing round nearby roads. But you can find petrol near almost every motorway junction, so leaving the motorway for a few minutes when you need to refuel is much more sensible unless you're really in a hurry.
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