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How to Fill Up with Fuel In Europe

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 31 Jul 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Fuel Filling Petrol Stations Europe

Filling up with fuel in Europe when you’re on a long road trip through different countries is usually easy, but now and again isn't always as straight forward as you might imagine. Different countries have varying rules when it comes to filling up, paying and using fuel so it’s good to learn about any oddities before you head off. In general, filling up in Europe is usually the same as filling up in the UK, so it shouldn’t cause you too many problems if you take your time and think about what you’re doing.

Language Barriers and Petrol Stations

Language barriers can sometimes be a real problem at petrol stations, but thankfully symbols are every drivers friend when driving abroad. Most petrol stations are signed with a regular petrol pump so it isn’t too difficult to find them on road journeys. Now and again, they will indicate that there are other services available at the same location also and regardless of which country you’re in or what colour the background to the sign is, most will follow this standard of a petrol pump to indicate a fuel stop.

When you get into the petrol station however, there can be some language barriers with filling up. Some countries still have manned petrol pumps and they will generally ask you how much petrol you want to fill up with. The trick is to generally always learn at least the word for ‘fill up’ or ‘full tank’ in each country, although you’ll find most people speak English. If you’re unsure whether it’s a manned station or not, simply get out your car and wait for a few seconds. It’s likely that someone will come out quickly if they’re meant to fill up for you.

Paying With Cards or Cash

Most service stations throughout Europe now will accept credit cards as payment. Every now and again you’ll find some of the smaller independent stations don’t, but they are very rare. Most are happy to take credit cards or debit cards as well as cash. Always get a receipt for your petrol and if you’re filling up at night, stay safe and aware of what is going on around you.

Most 24 hour service stations on quieter or local roads will have a night window, so keep an eye on your cash when you’re paying and heading back to your car. The larger service stations on motorways that are open all night will generally be better lit, busier and far more accessible. If you can, plan in advance where you’ll stop so that you know if you have cash on you, are in a public and busy area and what amenities they have.

Getting the Best Prices When Driving in Europe

There are a number of websites online that will outline the best prices for petrol in different areas in Europe. Generally there shouldn’t be too much of a difference between them, but always budget for petrol prices to go up. Some great sites that outline country specific prices are:

Gas prices are much lower than petrol prices, but remember that diesel prices are now often higher than unleaded petrol in many places . Most of Europe is generally lead petrol free now, so ensure that your car is running on unleaded.

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