The RHA and motorway service area (MSA) operator Moto have welcomed the prime minister’s plans to force service stations to display fuel prices on motorway signs, but the Petrol Retailers' Association (PRA) believes it will push prices up.

RHA chief executive Geoff Dunning said the added transparency will help lower fuel prices at Britain’s motorway service areas, which are often 10ppl higher than prices on other roads.

He said: “The prime minister is reported as saying that this is one area where government believes transparency can drive down prices and give motorists a better deal.  We shall be pressing the point that this issue is equally, if not more important for those who have the responsibility for delivering the economy – UK hauliers.”

The PRA, however, thinks that a forced investment in road signs will increase fuel prices, as costs will be passed on to the customer. It also believes signs will distract drivers from the road.

PRA chairman Brian Madderson said: “The correct approach would have been to review the whole UK market for road fuels as the PRA had recommended with their formal complaint to the OFT nearly 18 months ago. Instead, the government has allowed the OFT to duck the issue so the lack of price transparency and the volatility of wholesale costs continue unchecked.”

A spokesman for Moto revealed that it had initially put forward the idea to the OFT and was “delighted” that the government was considering enforcing it. He added that prices could be displayed electronically on existing half-mile signs on approach to the service station, eliminating the need for extra signage.