How to Pump Gas Across Europe

You might feel it’s the most natural thing in the world to just pump your own petrol and be on your way. However, across Europe, cultural norms vary when it comes to the delicate customs related to fueling up.

They say it’s the journey and not the destination, and driving across Europe to see majestic sites definitely proves that is the case. From Basque country to the Algarve and from Copenhagen to Calabria there are many amazing motorways. These days, with GPS, you can safely travel countries where you don’t speak the native tongue while avoiding floating away on a fjord.

However, no GPS can tell you what the local customs might be regarding petrol pumping. The only surefire way to avoid embarrassment is to research these beforehand. This collection of visuals covers fuel station etiquette for 11 different countries in Europe with details like: common grades of petrol, what the locals call a station, when you pay (before or after), and if you should pump yourself or let a service person take care of it for you.

If you are like many travelers, when to tip and when not to tip is a source of constant anxiety. No one wants to be rude or even offer a tip when it’s unexpected as this usually leads to awkwardness. These country guides have you covered.

In countries outside of Europe, the expected norms can differ regionally too. In the US for example, self service is the norm unless pulling into specially marked lanes — except for the state of New Jersey where full service is the only option. And offering a tip in those places is seen as gouache.

So wherever you go, it’s important to be fully prepared so you can be sure to safely hit the road in many languages.

See the graphic HERE

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