May Bank Holiday

Petrol hike costs bank holiday travellers £110 million

22 May 2008

As petrol prices continue to soar, the average bank holiday car journey looks set to cost the nation's drivers £110 million more this year compared to last year, according to the AA1.

With the average journey this weekend likely to be 304 miles2, drivers of diesel vehicles will feel the pinch most seeing a rise of 29 per cent on the journey and unleaded drivers experiencing a 17 per cent climb year on year.

Yet despite the rising cost, more than 18 million motorists are expected to start their summer half term holiday or enjoy their last chance of a Bank Holiday before August, with an estimated 33 per cent increase in traffic on Friday.

To ensure that the fuel cost is the only thing to worry about on your journey this weekend, the AA has provided some top tips for travelling this weekend:

It's in the timing

  • The 33% increase in traffic on Friday is likely to result in an average 30 minute delay, not allowing for any significant traffic incidents
  • Traffic levels are expected to increase from mid morning on Friday 23rd, peak at 5pm and are likely to subside by 7.30pm
  • Saturday and Sunday traffic is expected to be weather dependent, with any outbreaks of good weather making approaches to local places of interest busy
  • Monday evening will see an increase in traffic as people travel back home

Top ten busiest routes2

  • M25 around London through Surrey and Berkshire (J10-J16)
  • M25 South Mimms towards the Holmesdale Tunnel (J23-J27)
  • M25 from Kent towards the Dartford Tunnel (J4-J1)
  • M1 Northbound past Luton (J6-J10)
  • M1 through the East Midlands towards South Yorkshire (J22-J32)
  • M6 through the West Midlands (J6-J11a)
  • M6 between Cheshire and the Lake District (J21-J35)
  • M5 Southbound past Bristol (J15-J20)
  • M5 through Somerset and Devon (J23-J29)
  • A303 between Stonehenge and Somerset/Devon border


  • M1 Bedfordshire J6a-J10: Narrow Lanes and Contraflow
  • M1 Nottinghamshire: J27-J28: Narrow lanes and Speed Restriction
  • M11 Essex: J5-J6 & J8-J9: Narrow Lanes and Speed Restriction
  • M25 Kent: Narrow Lanes J3-J1b
  • M27 Hants: Narrow Lanes and Speed Restriction J11-J12
  • M4 South Wales: Contraflow J30-J32
  • A38 Lane Closure, Contraflow and 30mph limit at Dobwalls, Cornwall


  • In the second May Bank Holiday weekend 2007, the AA attended over 47,000 breakdowns
  • This year, the AA predicts it will attend up to 46,000 breakdowns over the weekend
  • The busiest day for breakdowns is likely to be on Tuesday morning, between 8am and 10am

Location, location3

Big cities and seaside towns are set to see the largest number of visitors with Brighton, Blackpool and Newquay set to be the busiest beaches.

Top 10 destinations for May Bank Holiday weekend:

  1. London
  2. Manchester
  3. Cardiff
  4. Bristol
  5. Southampton
  6. Nottingham
  7. Brighton
  8. Blackpool
  9. Birmingham
  10. Edinburgh

Planning ahead, motorists should:

  • Plan their route in advance
  • Travel when the roads are quieter
  • Allow plenty of time for the journey
  • Check oil, coolant and battery levels and tyre pressure and depth before hitting the road
  • Pack the car safely being careful not to overload or obstruct vision
  • Keep plenty of refreshments on board and plan car games to keep passengers comfortable and happy throughout the journey
  • The AA has created a set of podcasts featuring experienced AA patrols demonstrating simple car care procedures to help motorists prepare for journeys

Andy Taylor, AA Patrol of the Year, 2008, shares his top tips for avoiding Bank Holiday weekend Breakdown:

"With most people travelling an average of 304 miles over the bank holiday weekend, make sure you prepare well before you leave. Remember to check your vehicle's coolant and oil levels, battery, tyre tread and pressures.

To cut down on the cost of your journey you can find eco-driving tips on our website.

If you do find yourself stranded on the hard shoulder this weekend, with more patrols on the road than any other breakdown service , we're geared up and ready to help."

Notes to Editors

1Based on a Ford Mondeo 2.0 Zetec 5 door (petrol) or Ford Mondeo 1.8 TDCi 125 Zetec (Diesel) and fuel price figures from the AA's monthly Fuel Price Report May 2008 2According to AA Routeplanner data 3 According to AA Roadwatch data

Download a pdf version of this press release (includes fuel price comparisons along popular routes)


22 May 2008