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You'll find filling stations all over but smaller ones tend to close between about 1pm and 3:30pm and on Sundays. Many have self-service (fai da te) pumps that you can use any time. Simply insert a bank note into the payment machine and press the number of the pump you want. Remember to distinguish between benzina (petrol) and gasolio (diesel). The gas stations on the Autostrada are open all day.

Types of Gas

Rental cars use either unleaded (called senza piombo or benzina verde - 'green gas') or diesel (called 'gasolio'). Ask the attendant for 'il pieno, per favore' (fill it, please).

Be sure you know what type of gas your rental car takes because filling a car with the wrong kind of gas makes it stop working; not right away in the gas station, but after you have driven awhile. You have to be towed to a gas station and then have the tank drained. Usually there is a sticker on your gas tank cover, either inside or outside that indicates that the car takes diesel, but always ask at the rental agency to be sure.

Self Service Stations

You will find self service gas stations in Italy. They are usually open all day, even during the midday closing hours. You put a euro bill into the machine and tell it which pump you are at. You do not get change. The instructions for using this machine are on the small display screen.

Italian gas pumps go much faster than ours in the US - your tank is filled in about a quarter of the time. Forget about anyone washing your windshield or finding anything to do it yourself!