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Buying gas in France is much like in the States; the pumps are just about the same, except the money is in Euros and you buy by the liter. At the pump you can buy: unleaded (sans plomb) in either 95 or 98 octane, super unleaded (super) or diesel (gazole). Some stations will also sell what is called 'fuel' in French, normally at a separate pump. Do not buy it! It is diesel that is only sold to farmers. You can be fined, if it is found in your tank. This diesel is colored red, unlike regular diesel.

Gas can be purchased using either cash or a credit card when an attendant is present. Most gas stations, except for those on the Autoroute, do not have an attendant 24 hours a day. There are automated pumps that allow purchase with credit cards. Many of these do not accept credit cards without integrated chip and PIN number. If you think you may need to fill up in an emergency while driving in France, check your card out at a supermarket self-service pump well before you run out. If it doesn't work, nip round and join the queue for the pay-at-the counter pumps. Make sure that you don`t have to fill up in an emergency using an untested card at an unmanned filling station at night or on Sundays.

In France, you pump and then you pay; you do not have to pay first. When you finish pumping, all you have to do is go inside and tell the attendant your pump number and he/she will understand.

Supermarkets in France sell gas and diesel, and are much cheaper than at gas stations. Auchan, Round Point, Super U, InterMarché, E.Leclerc and ATAC are the names of supermarkets that sell gas and diesel. Look for signs reading 'Centre Commercial' they should lead you to a supermarket.

Don't fill up on the autoroute!Wait until a major intersection near a town or city, and come off theautoroute. You will almost certainly find a hypermarket/superstorewithin a kilometer or so of the exit, offering cut price fuel. You canexpect at least a 5% savings.

If possible, rent a car that runs on diesel, as it is cheaper than unleaded. Also the mileage is better. Diesel fuel in France (often called gasoil, pronounced gaz-warle) used to be about a third cheaper than unleaded, but that is no longer the case; today, diesel retails for about 20 centimes a liter less than unleaded, but it also goes further. Very few service stations now stock the old leaded petrol, known as 'super'.