How to save money on Petrol and Snacks on a long journey

How to save money on Petrol and Snacks on a long journey

The Bank holiday weekend is over and we have one week of the summer holidays left in England before the kids return to school. I am wondering how many of you have had a staycation and visited the UK’s service stations? Whilst you were there picking up snacks and maybe some fast food, did you realise how much more expensive they are than the regular high street or supermarket prices? Here is how to save money on petrol and snacks. asked me to check a few prices over the bank holiday weekend. On Monday 28th August I compared the prices from the service station at South Mimms on the M25/A1 junction to the nearby Tesco Extra at Hatfield. They are ten minutes apart and both next to the A1 so either can be visited on a long car journey.

I think we all suspect that service stations are more expensive than regular shops but how much difference does it make if we were to buy petrol, car snacks and have a burger at the service station?

Snacks and Water

The first things I shopped for were popular crisps, chocolate and water.

There was a big difference in pricing here with the crisps and chocolate being so much cheaper, 40p in some cases. I was shocked to see a Galaxy chocolate bar costing £1.05 in W H Smiths! Water was most interesting with one 750ml bottle of Buxton water costing the same as 8 * 500ml bottles of Buxton at Tesco. You are getting 4 litres of water for the same price as 75cl!!

If you were to buy the three chocolate bars, three packets of crisps and three bottles of water it would set you back £12.10. If you bought the same items from Tesco it would cost you £5.80, a very big difference I am sure you will agree with.

Fast Food & Coffee

The South Mimms service station is a pretty good one with lots of fast food choice. There is Harry Ramsden, Burger King, Tossed, KFC, Eds Diner, Waitrose, WH Smith and two Starbucks! On my list to find the prices was a Burger King cheese burger, KFC fillet burger and Americano’s from Starbucks and Costa.

The difference in service station vs. high street here was not that different. I was pleasantly surprised.

The burger king products were 30p more expensive in the services across most products and strangely the KFC fillet burger was cheaper in the service station?? I checked the pricelist carefully by the side of the till!

There was just a 5p difference in the cost of the Starbucks Americano. There was 59p difference in the price of the Costa Americano. This was the self-service machine at Waitrose service station versus Tesco self-service machine in store.

You won’t be too much out of pocket getting your fast food from a service station.

Petrol and Oil

Oh my gosh this one really surprised me. Car oil, it’s not something I ever buy, I was tasked with finding the cheapest and the most expensive at the petrol station. And then match this to what was available at the Tesco petrol station.

The fancy pants magnetic start up oil was a humungous £8.19 more expensive at the service station. But the cheaper Castrol power 1 was 38p cheaper. Pricing is a strange thing!

Petrol, wow! Please don’t ever buy petrol from a service station (disclaimer unless it’s an emergency running out of petrol situation!). It is 21p more expensive for diesel and 18p more expensive for unleaded petrol in the service station!

Our car is a Diesel Ford SMax, it takes around 60 litres to fill it up from empty to full. This would cost £69.58 at Tesco or £82.20 at this Service Station. £12.62 more expensive. Just don’t fill your car up at the services petrol station!

Check out this super handy petrol station finder  where you can just pop in your location and it will tell you the cheapest station that is near you. Don’t go near the service stations!

This is a collaborative post. 

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Lynn Beattie

Aka Mrs MummyPenny

Personal Finance Expert

I write about personal finance made simple, lifestyle choices that will save you time and money, as well as products and services that offer great value.

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2 Responses

  1. Its crazy isn’t it? When they have a captive audience the prices get hiked! They know you likely have no other option and will buy no matter the price. I have found that 500ml bottle of Pepsi Max is 49p in B&M but in hospital shops it is as much as £1.89 for the same size!

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