The right kind of fuel on tour
On tour in Europe you can get confused with all the different names for petrol/gasoline, especially if you only find an automated fueling station in the night and there’s nobody to ask for help.
If you make the mistake of pumping petrol/gasoline into a diesel engine you’ll know pretty quickly. I once rented a van to a band which did that in Czech Republic, the motor broke before they left the ground of the gas station. The list below shall help to prevent that from happening (ever!) again.
You should also look for the right octane rating. If you fill up with the wrong octane fuel you might not notice the difference at first, but using petrol/gasoline with too high of an octane rating may cause damage to the emissions system in a long term (a common misconception is that higher and more expensive octane petrol/gasoline is better for the engine or will lead to more power or fuel efficiency.) On the other hand putting regular octane petrol/gasoline in a car designed for premium can have disastrous consequences.
Names for petrol/gasoline in different countries
|France||Diesel/gasol||sans plomb 98|
|Germany||Diesel||Bleifrei Super plus|
|Italy||Diesel||Benzina senza piombo 98|
|Latvia||Diesel||98 E Futura|
|Liechtenstein||Diesel||Super plus/98 Oktan|
|Lithuania||Diesel||98 E Futura|
|Luxembourg||Diesel||Super plus /98 Oktan|
|Netherlands||Diezel||Oncheloode Super 98|
|Portugal||Diesel||Gasolina sem chumbo 98|
|Serbia and Montenegro||Dizel||98 Oktan|
|Spain||GasolŽo||Gasolinain plomo 98|
|United Kingdom||Diesel /Derv||Super unleaded|
Autogas / LPG
For a longer travel or tour it can make sense to buy/rent a vehicle which runs on LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas or Autogas).
LPG is much cheaper to buy than either petrol or diesel. Far less tax is added to the pump price because it makes far less pollution. Europe and the UK Government want to encourage the use of LPG as an environmental issue.
It’s not to be confused with Compressed Natural Gas (Erdgas / CNG) or Liquefied Natural Gas (Flüssigerdgas / LNG)!
In countries where petrol is called petrol rather than gasoline, it is common for autogas to be simply referred to as gas. This can be confusing for people from countries where petrol is called gasoline, as they often use gas as an abbreviation of gasoline. In the United States, autogas is more commonly known under the name of its primary constituent, propane. In the UK and in Germany LPG and autogas are used interchangeably. In Italy and France, GPL (an acronym for gas di petrolio liquefatto and gaz de pétrole liquéfié) is used, and in Spain GLP (gas licuado del petróleo) is used.
The average price for one liter of Autogas in Germany is 0,76 € (as of January 2012). Depending on the vehicle, fuel consumption during autogas operation remains the same or increases just slightly by 10 to 15 percent, under identical driving conditions. The lower cost of LPG autogas typically results in a sizeable reduction in fuel costs.
Important: You have to search for Autogas or LPG (liquid petroleum gas) in Germany, not Erdgas (CNG).
Terms in other countries:
LPG = engl. „Liquified Petroleum Gas“
GPL = franz. „Gaz de Petrole Liquefie“, also GPL-C (GPL-Carburant)
GLP = ital. „Gas Liquido Propano“, span. „Gases Licuados del Petroleo“ (GLP Automocion)
Motorgas, Bilgas, Gasauto, INA PLIN, Probugas
Gas fuelling stop density in Europe:
Germany: between 6000 and 7000 stations
Netherlands: ca. 2100
Belgium: ca. 650
Italy: ca. 2000
Poland: ca. 5000
Czech Republic: ca. 700
Slowakia: ca. 100
Rumania: ca. 100
France: ca. 1700
UK: ca. 1400
Turkey: ca. 10.000
Austria: ca. 27
Switzerland: ca. 45
Slowenia: ca. 34
Portugal: ca. 94
Spain: ca. 38
Smartphone App: LPG CNG Finder Europe (free)
The fuel is transferred into a vehicle tank as liquid by connecting the bowser nozzle at the filling station to the adaptor fitting on the vehicle. The type of adaptor used varies from country to country and in some cases different types are used within the same country. Often you can find two different systems at one gas station, which makes it easier if you prefer to use one type of adaptor.
Three main refueling systems may be found in Europe. In some countries all three systems are used. Adaptors should always be securely fitted to the vehicle filling point before the filling nozzle is attached. Few pumps have English language instructions and attended service is rare on motorway service areas and in hypermarkets.
This type has a threaded fitting onto which the bowser nozzle is screwed before the trigger is pulled to establish a seal before fuel transfer. This type is used in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Ireland, Australia, USA, Canada.
This type establishes a gas proof seal by a push and twist action. This type is used in the UK, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Norway, Spain and Switzerland.
This type is used in Germany (seldom), Italy, France, Poland, Scandinavia, Greece, Czech and Portugal.
- Unscrew the cap of the filler nozzle. You find the LPG port next to the port for petrol.
- Connect the fitting adapter to the refilling connector on your vehicle.
- Connect the fuel nozzle to the adapter, it’s either to screw or plug-in.
- A small release of gas can occur. That is normal.
- Now you have to pull back lever and latch into place, even if you not want to fill the tank completely.
- Then all you do is press and hold the delivery button – just like holding a petrol pump. If it’s full it stops automatically. Releasing the button you can of course stop filling before it’s full.
- When dispensing has ended, squeeze back lever and release latch. A small release of gas can occur as you release the lever. This is normal.
- Take the fuel nozzle off the adapter and don’t forget to put the adapter back in the car!
LPG autogas fuel gauges have to ‚live‘ and work in a hostile environment whilst measuring and indicating tank contents of liquid gas at low temperatures and high pressures. It has proven difficult to produce a completely accurate gauge design. The result is a gauge mechanism that is generally inaccurate to say the least.
This is why you should not rely on gauge readings to judge fuel remaining. It is far better to zero your odometer trip meter at every filling of your tank. LPG autogas is always cheaper than petrol, even at motorway service stations.
You can switch between LPG autogas and petrol anytime but we recommend driving on LPG autogas whenever possible because it’s much cheaper.
In Spain are fewer LPG stations but petrol is cheaper there than in other parts of Europe.