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rental car in France - gas or diesel

Hi all. Is there any advantage to one or the other (gas or diesel) when renting or leasing a car in France? Does anyone have recent experience with the cost of fuel or availability of fuel, one versus the other? Any preferences?
Thanks for your input.

Posted by
26353 posts

diesel is much cheaper and gets you much further and every filling station has it. Its called Gazole in France.

Posted by
1167 posts

Diesel cars get better - sometimes much better - mileage and it is readily available. Get one if you can.

Posted by
12040 posts

Diesel engines get superior mileage over their petrol counterparts. Diesel is usually a little cheaper, and both fuels are available at any station.

Posted by
6362 posts

Thank you much, that makes it easier to decide if both are available.

Posted by
2193 posts

And just make sure you use the right fuel when filling up with diesel/gazole. I believe either pump will fit, so be careful, or you could be on the hook for repairs. I've rented in Germany and France and ended up with diesels..didn't matter to me, but I did pay extra attention at the pump. BTW, this isn't the old, smelly, smokey diesel from yesteryear...your exhaust isn't going to look/smell like an 18 wheeler or F-350 will here.

Posted by
6362 posts

Thank you all for the input. I'm thinking of leasing for a month and the diesel is also slightly cheaper. So, looks like it's a better deal all around.

Posted by
913 posts

So Michael, what about my F250? I think my wife would take umbrage with your statement. That thing is just as bad as the F350. Nancy...diesel....my buddy in Germany has a VW diesel Passat wagon gets between 40-50 mpg....but gas/ diesel is around the equivalent of $8/ gallon in Germany right now. (Tom and Nigel can give you current prices...and it is good bet that those prices will be going up!) If you rent a gas powered car you get considerably less mileage.

Posted by
2828 posts

Even if diesel is only slightly cheaper at the pump, it WILL bring major saving because modern compact and medium-sized HDI diesel engines are much more efficient. A Peugeout 307 SW will be something like this (similar driving styles and patterns): GAS = 9,2 liters/100km
DIESEL = 6,5 liters/100km

Posted by
2193 posts

Steve: Your first clue on the F-250 is when your wife comes out of the house for a trip to the store wearing a bio hazard respirator. At that point, it's trade in time (for a cleaner car...not that she would trade you in). Although, it might be kind of hard to work out of a Fiat. :)

Posted by
11798 posts

Most people think of smell and vibration associated with a diesel engine. I've leased and rented diesels in Europe. There is nothing that would make you think you aren't in a gas car - except it gets better mileage and the fuel is a little cheaper. I always get a diesel (and manual transmission) when I can. With a lease you can choose. With a rental, you can ask but there's no telling if that's what you will get.

Posted by
175 posts

I know everyone thinks diesel is FAR superior to gas, and I have to admit that I haven't had any experience with diesel, but I wanted to add that if for some reason you end up with gas, it's not the end of the world. We ended up with a gas car in the south of France and it got much better gas mileage than any car I've ever driven in the States (and the car was actually pretty big--it wasn't a Smart car). We didn't drive cross-country, but we did an average amount of touring with it for about a week and filled up only once towards the end. Try for diesel, I'm sure it is better, but don't stress if you end up with gas.

Posted by
6362 posts

Again, thank you all for the feedback, it helps. The main reason I asked is because here the diesel fuel is more expensive than gas and I wasn't sure about France. Now that I know the fuel is cheaper and the mileage better then I will definitely try to get a diesel.

Posted by
26353 posts

We own both a diesel and a petrol engined car. Even though in the UK diesel is about 5 to 7 pence more expensive per litre, because I get such great mileage in the diesel ( an 8 year old Honda Accord which gets between 500-650 miles per tank) I am still ahead of the game. The differential varies by country and which is more expensive - all as the result of taxes and where various governments think they can bleed more money or where it is politically advantageous, but with the mileage and engine lifespan diesel wins every time for me. Except - this winter when the temperature reached minus 10 here overnight the diesel was so thick and the battery caved trying to turn over the engine, we got the petrol engine fired up no sweat and jump started the diesel. That's really the only time the petrol one was best.

Posted by
26353 posts

Regarding the cost in France, In February, according to the monthly Automobile Association Report prices for Unleaded averaged €1.59 per litre. Diesel was €1.49 per litre, of course individual stations and regions of the country will vary. At today's exchange rate to $$ that works out at about $8.10 per US gallon and $7.59 Diesel. That is certainly not the most expensive in Europe, and why when I drive to France I brim it at Calais and arrive on fumes.

Posted by
577 posts

The diesel version and the petrol version of any vehicle will have the same size fuel tank, but the diesel will get better mileage. The other advantage is that the diesel will go further on a full tank. If you are driving long distances, this makes it much easier to fill up when you see fuel is cheap, such as at supermarkets. You may also be able to avoid problems at weekends, when you can only buy fuel at expensive autoroute places, or using a chip and pin credit card.

Posted by
2828 posts

Honestly, with modern cars (the kind you are likely to rent), there is few, if any, noticeable difference in terms of driving, noises or vibration. Just beware, diesel or gas, of some underpowered cars that sometimes run out there, mainly minivans with 1200cc, for instance, which have a harder time getting higher speeds.

Posted by
850 posts

I always request diesel and so far have been able to get one. More economical as others have stated. You did not mention when you will be going and you may be aware of this but beginning in July (although it probably will not be enforced until November according to the article referenced below) France will require all drivers to carry their own breathalyzers in their cars or be subject to a fine. I wonder if the rental companies will have those available at the time of pick up. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2104024/Now-French-say-holidaymakers-carry-breathalyser-kit-car.html

Posted by
913 posts

Wow, Lane, your own breathalyzer...that would be cool. It would be great to know when you are getting close to the 'limit". Reminds me of the time when the Gendarmes jumped out from the curb, stopped my car and stuck a breathalyzer in my face. We had just finished a multi-couse three hour dinner at a wonderul Michelin rated restaurant, and had enjoyed a bottle and half of some great Bordeaux, and a couple of liters of " l'eau". I do not speak much French, and haltingly told the Gendarme that, as he tried his best to convince me to "blow harder". Finally he looked at the hapless tourist and his wife, he sighed, a big grin came over his face, and he said "Au revoir".

Posted by
6362 posts

Hey all, thanks again for all the input. My dates are not quite firmed yet but I'm going to be leasing a car for a month (either July or Aug). After all of your comments I am looking at a small std trans car with diesel engine. "you may be aware of this but beginning in July (although it probably will not be enforced until November according to the article referenced below) France will require all drivers to carry their own breathalyzers in their cars or be subject to a fine." Wonder how much these things cost. The fine for not having one is 11Euros. Probably not worth worrying about as I'm not much of a drinker but thanks for the info anyway. Glad they're not enforcing until Nov.

Posted by
850 posts

Funny story Steve. As a non drinker I would not worry about passing the test and if the fine is only 11 euros as Nancy noted I think I would just take my chances.

Posted by
2349 posts

Andre writes: GAS = 9,2 liters/100km
DIESEL = 6,5 liters/100km It looks like diesel gets much better mileage, but I can't quite tell. My brain goes all buzzy and fuzzy when I see those metric thingies.

Posted by
26353 posts

GAS = 9,2 liters/100km DIESEL = 6,5 liters/100km Its pretty straightforward. That is the usual way of indicating fuel economy in Europe. 100 km is 62 miles. The diesel will use 6 and a half litres to go that far, the other will use over 9. Using google you can get it US terms: gas- 25.57 mpg, diesel 36.19.

Posted by
2349 posts

Sorry, Nigel. The metric stuff just doesn't fit in the American brain. Only metric I know is that the big bottle of vodka is 1.5 litres.