The Government is going ahead with a trial of motorway signs showing the price of fuel at service areas in a bid to generate competition and reduce prices.

Announcing the move, roads minister Robert Goodwill said: “We want to make it easier for people to get a better deal on fuel at motorway service stations, for instance through a trial of motorway signs that will show motorists the different fuel prices on offer on their route.”

A spokesman for Moto Hospitality, which is the UK’s biggest motorway services operator, said the company welcomed the move. He said: “This is something we have been pressing for for some time. We believe transparency will benefit both the consumer and the motorway service industry.”

Asked whether it would lead to lower prices he said it was too early to speculate and that the effects of the trial would need to be monitored.

In a statement, the second largest motorway services operator, said: “Welcome Break supports customer choice and customer services that will make the motorists’ experience a better one.”

AA president Edmund King said: “Motorists in the UK often think they are treated as a cash cow and these proposals go some way to help keep down the motoring costs of hard-pressed families.

“The AA has long campaigned for motorway fuel prices to be displayed at the start of motorways, as they do in France, so that the driver can make an informed choice on where to fill up.

“Prices can be 10p per litre more expensive than can be obtained from supermarket pumps or where there is greater local competition for topping up drivers’ fuel tanks. While we understand that motorway service areas have higher running costs, we welcome Government moves for greater transparency in fuel prices.”

He added: “Sixty per cent of drivers use motorways at least several times per month and 10% use them every weekday. Displaying motorway fuel prices will widen their choice of where to fill up or not.”