Tips & Advice

Petrol & Diesel in European Countries

Petrol or diesel? You know what you need in the UK, but do you know what it’s called in other European countries?

Bleifrei, essence, gasoleo, bensin – all of these and several more are used in different European countries. It pays to have some understanding of what you need – although pumps in EU countries are often coloured the same as in the UK.

Here’s a basic guide to some of the most common names you may encounter on your travels:


Unleaded Petrol: Essence sans plomb or SP95. Higher octane ratings may also be on offer.

Diesel: Diesel or Gas-oil


Unleaded petrol: Essence sans plomb

Diesel: Diesel or gas-oil


Petrol: Benzin

Unleaded petrol: Bleifrei normal or Bleifrei Super – super has a higher octane rating.

Diesel: Diesel


Unleaded petrol: Loodvrije Benzine

Diesel: Dieselolie


Petrol: Benzin or ólommentes üzemanyag


Petrol: Gasolina sin plomo

Diesel: Gas-oil


Petrol: Bensin

Diesel: Gasoleo


Petrol: Benzina

Diesel: Gasolio


Unleaded petrol: Amoliwdi Wensina

Diesel: May be labelled as diesel


Petrol: Benzin

Diesel: Dieselolie


Unleaded Petrol: Blyfritt Kraftstoff or Blyfri


Petrol: Blyfri

Diesel: Diesel


Thanks to its tri-lingual culture, Switzerland has three names for each fuel, used interchangeably in different areas of the country:

Unleaded petrol: Bleifrei, essence sans plomb or benzina sensa piomba

Diesel: Diesel or gasolio

This is far from a comprehensive guide – I apologise in advance for any errors or omissions. Other countries not listed, especially those in Eastern Europe, have different names again. Although some of these are obvious, some aren’t – but clues like black pumps (usually diesel), numbers such as 95 0r 98 (petrol octane ratings) should provide a clue.

If in doubt, ask or even sniff! Don’t fill up if you are not sure which fuel you are getting.