Paying for fuel abroad isn’t usually that much different from paying for fuel in the UK. Most countries have a similar set up where you’re able to pay with either a card or cash and generally there are the same choices – unleaded petrol, diesel or gas. Now and again you will be met with either a manned station or self-service, but this is entirely country dependent. You will often find that the differences between paying for fuel in the US and paying for fuel in Europe can be significant also, not just based on price, but also based on the procedure for paying.
Paying for Fuel in the USA
In the USA when you’re paying for fuel you will generally have to pay before filling up. There are a high number of instances in the US where people fill up and drive off without paying, so now it’s common to have to go into the service station first, tell them your pump number and pre-pay for your fuel. If you end up going over the allocated amount, you will have to return to the counter and pay the rest. Often you’ll notice that your pump cuts off at the right amount, or you can specify to ‘fill it up’. Some service stations in the USA are still manned, particularly in small local stations, so let the attendant take care of the fuel for you.
Paying for Fuel in Europe
Paying for fuel in Europe is usually similar to paying in the UK. You can fill up and pay by cash, credit card and often debit card. They generally don’t sell leaded petrol any longer, but you can buy unleaded, diesel, and gas. If you’re unsure of how the particular service station you’re stopping at operates, simply ask an attendant for help. Most have basic English skills and if they see you are a tourist are generally willing to help you out.
Paying for Fuel in Other Countries
Some countries won’t accept credit cards to pay for fuel. Generally these countries are outside of the EU and may not have the high standards of driving and road worthiness as some other countries. If you’re planning to go to a country that isn’t as well-developed as most European countries, consider taking cash with you to pay for fuel, but not too much. There is a very real threat of theft when driving in some countries and if you have a large amount of cash on you, you could be asking for trouble.
Checking Fuel Costs as you Travel
There are a number of ways to stay up to date with fuel costs when you’re travelling. All service stations will have their fuel prices displayed in their forecourt and if you start paying attention to the differences, you’ll soon notice that there are certain companies who tend to be cheaper. You can also take with you a print out of various fuel prices before you leave. If you have Internet access on the road then you can make use of some of the excellent fuel watch sites that will constantly update fuel prices for you. In order to find them, simply type ‘fuel prices’ into Google.