Gas and parking aren’t going to be the highlights of your European vacation (at least, I hope they aren’t), but if you keep the following ideas in mind, you should be able to get back on the road, or into town, with the least amount of stress and expense.
Filling the Tank
The cost of gasoline in Europe (about $7 per gallon) appears to be more than it is. Distances are short, small cars get excellent mileage, and pricey petrol is less of an issue when compared to expensive train tickets (for the price of a two-hour train ride, you can fill your tank). You’ll be surprised at how few kilometers are required to appreciate Europe’s diversity.
Pumping gas is simple in Europe; the term “self-service” is widely used. Paying, on the other hand, may be more difficult; study other customers and follow their lead. Some gas stations require you to pump the gas first, then pay the cashier (your pump may be “frozen” until the previous customer pays his or her bill). Others require you to pay at a central kiosk before selecting your pump number. Some establishments provide full service.
Other stations operate similarly to those in the United States, where you pay at the pump. However, most of these machines (particularly in the United Kingdom, France, the Low Countries, and Scandinavia) will not accept magnetic-stripe credit cards, and even if your US credit card has a chip, it may not work at the offline terminals found at gas pumps (be sure you know your card’s PIN in case you need to enter it). Pay the cashier if your card doesn’t work (with cash; in some cases they might be able to swipe your card). It’s worth noting that gas stations can be left unattended: On remote roadways, for example, automated gas stations which don’t accept cash may be the only ones open on Sundays, holidays, and late at night. It’s best to stock up on supplies ahead of time.
The price of gasoline is stated per liter (about a quart, four to a gallon). Most cars, like those in the United States, run on unleaded, but diesel is also frequently used. Regular gasoline is labeled “95” throughout Europe, while super or premium fuel is labeled “97” or “98.” Diesel is known as gasoil, gasol, gaz-oil, gasolio, gasóleo, dieselolie, mazot, motorina, nafta, or just plain diesel, while unleaded gas is known as essence, petrol, or benzine (ask about the proper local term when you rent your car). Pay special attention in Spain, where gasoline is referred to as gasolina and diesel is referred to as gasóleo. Keep in mind that in some countries, the nozzles for diesel and gasoline are the same size and color, so make sure you’re not putting the wrong fuel in your car.
Although motorway gas stations are more expensive than those in towns, they are occasionally the only ones open (for example, during the lunchtime siesta). The cheapest gas is frequently found at large suburban supermarkets.
In Europe, the greatest suggestion for preventing parking headaches is to: Use common sense and consult locals if you’re unsure about the rules. Park cautiously Europe’s tiny streets account for a disproportionate number of insurance claims.
Learn what the pavement markings imply (various curb colors can mean free or no parking), seek for signs showing where and when you can’t park, and double-check that your car is parked legally with a local. Don’t think that because there are no meters, you can park your car there: You may need to purchase a timed ticket from a pay-and-display machine nearby, or show a parking-clock disc that permits you to park for free in time-limited places.
Parking clocks: In some regions, parking clocks are utilized instead of parking meters on the dashboard. These clocks (Parkscheibe) are common in Germanic countries and may be found for a low price at petrol stations, newsstands, and cigarette shops. Park your car, set the clock to the time you arrived, and leave it on the dashboard. The hours when free paring is permitted are indicated on the street sign.
The European word “parking” refers to a parking lot or garage, which is always identified by a blue P sign. In mid-sized towns, I usually pull into the most central and convenient parking spot I can find. In larger cities, I avoid the downtown area (which is typically a congested grid of one-way streets) and drive straight to a parking lot outside the core.
Many cities have discontinued providing any parking in the city center in order to make well-traveled areas more pedestrian-friendly. Look for large government-sponsored park-and-ride lots on the outskirts of town, where local transport will whisk you right into town the parking charge usually includes a transit ticket (or the transit is cheap and the parking itself is free).
The larger the city, just as at home, the more you’ll pay for parking. Small towns normally charge no more than $10 per day (and often have free limited-time parking), but larger cities charge upwards of $35 per day. While street parking is sometimes less expensive than parking in a lot or garage, it frequently comes with a time limit that is insufficient for touring. In smaller towns, parking further away from the big-name attraction may result in a lower hourly charge. Keep lots of coins and notes on hand because parking machines on the street or in unstaffed garages may not accept your American credit card, and many don’t give change.
Your vacation time is short, so don’t waste it seeking for a free parking spot. In general, I advise going as close to the city center as possible and paying the cost. You’ll save time and have a more secure parking spot.
If you’re parking your car overnight, make sure it’s in a safe, well-traveled, and well-lit location (see my tips for safe parking). Inquire about parking alternatives (and the restrictions controlling overnight parking); the hotel may be able to provide a permit or a free spot, either in their own lot or through a neighboring agreement.
What fuel does France use?
Prices for gasoline in France in the summer of 2021 are expected to be around 1.50 per liter. Diesel will be the cheapest, followed by SP95, then SP98. Supermarkets will be less expensive, while highway service stations will be the most expensive.
Unleaded (without plomb) in 95 or 98 octane, as well as diesel, are available. If your car is equipped, you can also find ethanol.
Both are slightly less expensive than in the United Kingdom, but significantly more expensive than in the United States.
Other stations may be shuttered at night or operate on an automated basis: You do not use a cashier; instead, you use a credit card (not all foreign cards accepted though).
No concerns if you run out of petrol on the highway. Stop on the right hard shoulder and contact 112 for assistance or go to the nearest emergency phone (every 2 kilometers). Gas will be delivered to you, but at a premium (gas price + around 50£ or 80 US$).
Is SP95 a diesel?
Today, all gasoline sold in France is unleaded without plomb. The original leaded’super 97′ (equal to UK four-star) has been outlawed since 2000, while a potassium-based version was sold under the same label for a few years. Some owners of historic cars from the pre-unleaded era choose to modify the engines or put additives in the gasoline.
The difference between SP95 and SP98 is the percentage of octane, which is one of the components of petrol.
High-performance engines that put the gasoline under additional pressure before ignition, such as those found in more sporty vehicles, should use petrol with a higher octane percentage (SP98). Some older cars (from the pre-unleaded era) also perform better on SP98.
You should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when deciding which to use; nonetheless, cars that can run on SP95 can also operate on SP98; however, a car built for SP98 will not perform as well on SP95. So, if you’re unsure, consult the car’s owner’s manual.
So SP98 can provide you higher performance than SP95, but only if your automobile is built for it; otherwise, there’s no use in spending extra for it.
Ordinary and premium diesels (the latter may be named gazole + or diésel + and is supposed to keep the engine cleaner and minimize usage), SP95-E10, E85, and GPL are among the other fuels available at the pump.
It’s important to note that SP95-E10 is not the same as regular SP95. It contains 90% regular unleaded gasoline and 10% biofuel (ethanol made from sources like beetroot and sugar cane). Most cars made since 2000 can operate on it, while motorbikes and scooters are less well suited to it (they will run on it but some models can accumulate damage if it is used repeatedly).
E85 is a biofuel that contains up to 85% biofuel and is only suitable for vehicles that are built to run on a variety of fuels, known as ‘flex fuel’ vehicles. It is the cheapest gasoline, and an electrical box (costing between 400 and $1,000 depending on the engine’s power) can now be purchased to convert an average car to ‘flex fuel,’ potentially saving money in the long run. E85 is also marketed as a more environmentally friendly option.
GLP is a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) manufactured from a blend of butane and propane that can only be used in special vehicles.
Is there diesel in France?
In France, red diesel is extensively utilized, but the government is tightening restrictions on its use. In France, the terms ‘fioul’, ‘gazole,’ and the English phrases ‘diesel’ and ‘fuel,’ are all used to designate diesel products. In other sections of the country, the term’mazout’ is also used.
Is B7 a diesel?
Today’s unleaded gasoline, commonly referred to as “E5”, which may contain up to 5% ethanol (or a mixture of limited “oxygenates” up to an equivalent 5% limit), will continue to be available at the pump, according to the Fuel Quality Directive, which states that member states must require fuel suppliers to ensure the continued supply of E5 unleaded petrol until 2013, and may require it to be available for longer if necessary for their fleet of vehicles.
The Fuel Quality Directive and the appropriate international standard control the quality specifications of these new fuels, and both shall be cited in the relevant law of the member state where the fuel is sold.
The new unleaded gasoline grade is known as “E10,” whereas the new diesel grade is known as “B7.” Although the sale of E10 gasoline and B7 diesel is necessary across the EU’s 27 member states as of January 1, 2011, both fuels are already available in some member states, such as France, although only under particular national orders.
Revisions to the relevant international standards, namely EN228 for unleaded gasoline and EN590 for diesel, are currently underway, with recommendations for how the fuel pump should be marked so that the consumer is fully informed about the fuel he or she is pouring into a vehicle. Unfortunately, it is up to each member state to decide whether to follow the suggestions for pump marking or to choose a different method.
All diesel cars can use the new “B7” diesel, although there are reservations about using E10 unleaded gasoline in all gasoline vehicles on the road. In general, older gasoline vehicles may experience material compatibility concerns when using E10 unleaded gasoline for an extended length of time; hence, such vehicles should use the “E5” unleaded petrol grade. It’s important to note that it’s up to the oil firms to decide how they’ll continue to advertise E5 unleaded gasoline.
ACEA has compiled this list to help consumers understand which unleaded gasoline they should use in their automobile. It indicates which petrol vehicles can safely use E10 unleaded fuel and which petrol vehicles should continue to use E5 unleaded petrol. The list also includes data for Saab as well as cars made by Japanese automakers that are not ACEA members. JAMA’s participation in generating this list is appreciated by ACEA.
The list is available through national automotive organizations, and it is expected that governments will begin to make consumer information about these changes to the fuels available at the pump more generally known.
What is EU fuel?
The EN 590 standard specifies the quality of European diesel fuels. Despite the fact that these requirements are not mandated, they are followed by all European fuel providers. Several diesel fuel attributes, such as cetane number, sulfur level, and FAME biodiesel concentration, have been subject to environmental laws since the late 1990s.
While EN 590 is primarily concerned with on-road uses, many European Member States require the same gasoline to be used in non-road mobile machinery, with the addition of a taxation marker or dye. Other EU member states have their own fuel requirements for off-road vehicles. The United Kingdom, for example, employs BS 2869 to establish fuel oil standards for a variety of nonroad applications, including nonroad mobile machinery.
- The first EU diesel fuel specification was EN 590:1993 in 1993. In onroad and nonroad diesel fuels, it set a sulfur limit of 0.2 percent and a cetane number of 49. Euro 1 diesel fuel is another name for it.
- EN 590:1996 is a European standard that was published in 1996.
- This standard incorporated a new 500 ppm sulfur limit. The cetane number stayed unchanged at 49. Euro 2 diesel fuel is another name for it.
- EN 590:1999This standard reflected Directive 98/70/EC’s sulfur (350 ppm) and cetane number (51) criteria (so called Euro 3 diesel).
- EN 590:2004Sulfur restrictions of 50 parts per million (Euro 4) and 10 parts per million (Euro 5) as defined by Directive 2003/17/EC. FAME has a 5% FAME content.
- EN 590:2009 specifies a FAME content of 7%, as required by Directive 2009/30/EC. In addition, this regulation establishes mandatory biofuel criteria for refiners, as well as a 10 ppm S limit in nonroad fuels, which will take effect in 2011.
Regulatory Terminology “Gas oil” is a word used in EU regulation language to represent a wide range of fuels, including diesel fuels for onroad vehicles, nonroad vehicle fuels, and other distillate fuels. Fuels for onroad vehicles (typically with sulfur content below 0.05 percent) are referred to as “diesel fuels,” while fuels for nonroad mobile machinery (typically with sulfur content up to 0.2 percent) are referred to as “gas oils intended for use by non-road mobile machinery (including inland waterway vessels), agricultural and forestry tractors, and recreational craft” within the gas oil classification.
These words are also tied to the EU Common Customs Tariff nomenclature. To identify the tariffs that apply to different items, CN (Combined Nomenclature) codes are assigned. The CN code for diesel fuel for on-road use is 2710 19 41. CN codes for gas oils for nonroad mobile machinery range from 2710 19 41 to 2710 19 45, depending on sulfur content.
What are the 3 types of diesel?
Diesel fuels are divided into three categories: 1D(#1), 2D(#2), and 4D(#4). The distinction between these classes is determined by viscosity (a fluid property that causes resistance to flow) and pour point (the temperature at which a fluid will flow).
Low-speed engines often use #4 fuels. In warmer weather, #2 fuels are used, and they’re sometimes combined with #1 fuel to make a reliable winter fuel. Because of its reduced viscosity, #1 fuel is recommended in cold weather. The gasoline number used to be standard on the pump, however nowadays, many gas stations do not display the fuel number.
Another essential consideration is the Cetane rating of the diesel fuel. Cetane is a measure of how easily a fuel will ignite and burn, analogous to Octane for gasoline. Since the introduction of ultra low sulfur diesel fuels in the mid-2000s, the cetane has been lowered, making the newer fuel less appealing to diesel aficionados. Running a gasoline additive to raise the overall Cetane number is highly recommended. Lubricity additives will be added to diesel fuel additives like Fuel Bomb to assist modern diesel engines function better and achieve improved fuel economy (MPG). Another advantage of a diesel fuel additive is that it only requires a small amount per tank. A typical bottle of diesel fuel additive treats 250-500 gallons of fuel.
Diesel Power Magazine has an article about diesel fuel additives and why they are significant.
Synthetic diesel can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, straw, corn, and even trash or wasted foods.
Biodiesel is a form of diesel that is environmentally beneficial. It’s a cleaner-burning diesel generated from renewable natural resources like vegetable oils and animal fats. Biodiesel is assisting in the reduction of America’s reliance on foreign petroleum. It also contributes to the establishment of green jobs and environmental benefits.
What does diesel pump look like in France?
I believe I am correct in stating that there are no green diesel pumps in Europe, which are reserved for various grades of lead-free (now universal, of course) PETROL.
Diesel pumps are most commonly yellow or black, but even there, be cautious because some gasoline firms sell “premium” diesel at far higher prices than regular diesel, despite assurances to the contrary. To put it another way, it pays to read the description. While “DIESEL” is now widely used throughout Europe, many gas stations in France are still marked “GASOIL” or “GAZOLE.”
If you realize you’ve placed the wrong fuel in your automobile, don’t start it; a tank drain and clean, followed by a refill, is much less expensive than buying a new engine.