When renting a car, should we request diesel? Is the diesel fuel in Italy cheaper, and as easy to find at gas stations? Are there any disadvantages to diesel?
Request a diesel. Confirm when you pick up your car by looking inside the gas tank door. Diesel in Italy is "Gazoil". There is a diesel option at every gas pump.
No, but more economical. Diesel is as common as gas.
Unleaded fuel in Italy is going for about E1.35/litre right now ($5.12 US/gal)....diesel is 1.21 Euro ($4.58 US/gal). Diesel fuel is widely available, and you'll get better mileage. Diesel engines may be a little slower to accelerate, but the differences these days are negligible.
We always rent a diesel car. The diesel cars that we have rented move right along. For our trip a few weeks ago, we got a Lancia Minivan. It was fast and efficient. Diesels always get 20 to 40% better milage than gas powered rigs.
My buddies diesel VW Jetta wagon typically got around 46 mpg when the 4 of us went out touring with all of our luggage.( at around 70 to 90 mph on the autobahn) He just bought another one while he is stationed in Germany.
When you puill up to the service station in Italy, you will see a sign for "Gasolio", or "diesel".
We only buy fuel at the major staions, and always use our credit card. Beware of sma;ll staions that only take cash.
Diesel is cheaper and if you go with a standard transmission the car will usually be cheaper as well. If you can take a gps or rent a car with one it is well worth it.
For ecological reasons the tax on Diesel is lower than on regular gas in most European countries. The difference per liter in Italy is 20 Euro cents which converts to around $1 per gallon.
You may get a diesel anyways. We did not request one but got one in both France and Italy. Unlike in the US, diesel is nearly always available everywhere, at least in those two countries.