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Europcar and France - My Experience

I rented and prepaid a EuropCar rental of a Diesel compact for 13 days well before my trip. I chose my pickup point to coincide with my eventual departure point from Paris. I picked the Downtown office at the Bastille which is a short walk from the Gare D’ Lyon where I was catching my train to Italy.

The entire rental went very well (I have rented from EuropCar before). Pick up took all of 1/2 hour including the inspection of the car. They gave me a brand new Fiat 500X which I loved. We had 4 good sized adults all of our luggage and a dog... all of us fit quite comfortably and it got a consistent 49 MPG.

I put about 2000 Kilometers on it driving from Paris to Normandy then back across most of France to Burgundy all around and back to Paris. I loved driving that little car. I’d buy one in a minute back home. UNFORTUNATELY WE DONT GET THE DIESEL. Nor do our cars get the same great fuel mileage of the European ones.

Because I am taking my dog around Europe with me I stopped at a self serve car wash on the day I returned it and vacuumed it and washed it off.

Check in was a breeze. The man gave it a quick once over...it was all clean and shiny...signed it off and I was on my way.

EuropeCar was very easy to deal with at this location, driving in France is a breeze with great roads and great service plazas along the “A” routes. My credit card worked in all the station machines but one grocery store chain. And the regular stations are all the type where you fill up then pay inside.. We used cash in all of the Toll Road machines and that was easy, intuitive and fast.

So all in all it was a very good experience with none of the problems or issues that I read so much about here in the forum before I left. I hope if you are renting a car in France your trip goes just as smoothly.

Posted by
16956 posts

Where is home that they don't have diesel fuel?

Posted by
11996 posts

We have diesel fuel, what we don't have is the diesel sedans and coupes like they have in Europe. I think because the Europeans consider efficiency using all the fuel, while in the US we focus primarily on emission standards - that's my theory on why they aren't sold here anyway. They are great cars and get incredible mileage. Europeans also drive manual transmission regularly, and few here will do that anymore.

Posted by
11996 posts

I was kind of ticked with Europcar because there was a (nearly) hidden back end charge that was nearly as much as the rental itself. It looked like a good deal. When I read closer, however, it would have been more than several other agencies.

Posted by
546 posts

My comment about the diesel was not about the fuel but about the fact that FCA (Fiat Chrysler America) doesn’t import that model to the states.

I own a Dodge Ram 2500 6.7L Cummins diesel truck in the states and our use of DEF reduces the particulate matter to near zero and makes what comes out of the tailpipe almost breathable in fact it doesn’t even smell like a diesel. Europe chose not to go down that path. But nearly every car I see here is a diesel.

And for good reason. Diesel is costing around 1.41-1.55 Euro/liter. Gas is around 1.60. That as much as .20 Euro/liter adds up to more than a USD per Gallon difference between the two fuels. On a ten gallon tank that’s $10 USD saved if you get the diesel. That is one of the big reasons I prefer to rent diesels in Europe.

Posted by
2507 posts

Also note that diesel costs 15 to 20 % more than regular here in the US, sometimes more. The savings on fuel efficiency are lost due to this. And yet diesel is consistently less abroad by that same margin.

Posted by
546 posts

Well this post was not intended to become a discussion about the pros and cons of diesel vs gas, except that it is cheaper if you are renting a car in Europe to get a diesel. And I recommend it for the driving experience alone.

Having said that I cant really let one comment go by about the cost savings of diesel being lost in the states because it is higher than gas. First it is not higher everywhere many states it is still cheaper, Second my Diesel P/U is much cheaper to operate overall than my previous 5.7L gas version was.

I will be renting 3 other cars on this journey, one for a month in Italy, one for a week in Montenegro and one for a month in Bulgaria...so that should give some comparisons and somthing interesting to post about for those folks heading there.

Posted by
39 posts

aartghurperry,
I will be renting car in Paris in June for 4 adults (normal size), and we have 4 carry-ons and probably 4 backpacks (with ipad, laptop...not huge). I made reservation for intermediate options - much more expensive than compact for 12 days. I am wondering what kind of car you get for compact option? maybe I can change my reservation to compact? My husband was worry if all our luggage, not fit in the trunk.

Thanks for your advise.

Posted by
546 posts

Lilia, Hi. I don;t know how long you are gone for but I am traveling for 4 months and have everything I need (and more) in one carry-on roller bag. My freind Mary has the same and my dog Jake has a carry on size back pack for his stuff.

All four adults ( my friends Mick and Marg form England came to France to see us) all fit in the car with my dog and all the luggage but they only had one carry on bag each.

This did fill the luggage area behind the back seat on the Fiat 500X (you will also see cars like the Renault Megane (a very nice and roomy car too and available in a diesel).

It seems to me you will have to reduce your luggage or stay with the bigger car.

I can tell you from 40+ years of experience traveling the world that you and your family will be much much happier with the whole trip the less they have to carry. 1 small carry on has been my rule for more years than I can count. I gave up the huge back pack after my first extended trip to Asia after soon realizing that I didnt need or use more than half of what i brought.

But whatever you do have fun and enjoy your trip.

Posted by
2916 posts

We just rented a compact car in France, and there is no way we could have fit 4 people, 4 carry-ons and 4 backpacks. So, as was said above, you'll need to get a larger car or reduce your baggage.

Posted by
23 posts

Hi Travel Friends,
We plan to rent a car at Paris CDG airport and drive, over the course of one week, to Stuttgart, Germany this August. The plan is to turn the car into the rental company, Stuttgart airport. Checked EuropCar. Does not appear to offer this option. Any car rental suggestions for our plan? Merci, Mary

Posted by
2163 posts

Generally, the more one travels, the less he is likely to pack. However, 4 passengers using 4, 22¨ carry on bags will need a mid sized car (by European standards) to fit the luggage into the trunk.

In reference to one way, outside of France drop offs, many companies will allow you to do that, Hertz, Sixt, and usually Europcar. However, the car will need to be recovered and probably shipped back to France. You´ll need to ask to be sure but expect the one way, drop off fee to approach 1000€.

Posted by
5697 posts

@maryholbert, any chance you could drop the car off in Strasbourg, just across the border in France, and take the train to Stuttgart ? Might make a big difference in dropoff costs.

Posted by
546 posts

Actually the diesel emission standards in the US are stricter than Europe and our diesels use DEF. This is an additive added into the exhaust stream, My Dodge Diesel 6.7L Cummins diesel (a very big engine) uses it as do all new engines for big trucks cars and small trucks.

The Def converts the exhaust from the engine removing virtually all particulate matter (the smoke you are probably thinking of) and the diesel smell. YOu can actually breathe the stuff coming out of my exhaust pipe.

Now diesels have a complicated emission system which requires Ultra low sulfur diesel. This diesel is much much cleaner than the old stuff used years ago.

Europe has not adopted these new technologies. But any diesel imported here would have to have them.

And in fact my truck puts out less harmful exhaust than many gas cars.

So before blaming diesels for too many deaths, none of which can be tied directly to that cause by the way, a little more information is in order.

Posted by
28777 posts

My new diesel Honda puts out less emissions than most cars of either fuel, so little that I am below the threshold for road tax. I get about 1,200 km (around 700 miles) per tank too.

Any particles there may be are caught and destroyed by a DPF system.

Posted by
2163 posts

So much seemingly wonderful news about diesels. None the less, due to pollution concerns it appears likely that they will be banned from entering into Paris by 2020. If this becomes law, expect to find far fewer diesels sold in France and many fewer available at car rental agencies.