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Quite unlikely, but what if I rent a car and forget to ask if it takes diesel or gasoline? Is it customary that it's written next to the gas tank inlet (I've only rented a car once, and this was the case).

Or is this something that is easily deduced from the car name? Any other method?

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Small hose nozzle opening PROBABLY - as per Affeter. BUT don't do it. Just don't. You will almost certainly not be provided with a diesel car unless you ask for one. Regardless - if you put petrol in a diesel car you risk major damage. Odds are you will be liable due to the agreement that you have signed. (We travelled for 4 weeks in Europe in Eurolease turbo-diesel manual Peugeot 307 - a pleasantly surprisingly good performing car). –  Russell McMahon Feb 23 at 5:30
    
@RussellMcMahon I did get diesel cars without specifically asking for one (most recently in Ireland IIRC). –  Relaxed Feb 23 at 21:53
    
@RussellMcMahon: true you have to pay extra for diesel, but it's not unusual to get free upgrade without asking, just because they don't have the cheaper car you've reserved. –  vartec Feb 24 at 12:45
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3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

It's common in Europe for many cars to have a Diesel or Gasoline version.

Usually, but it is not a rule, if the model of the car has a letter D it's a Diesel car, but this is not a rule. It's not a rule as well for the car to have a letter on the model name.

Usually in Diesel cars you will find some warnings about it.

  • The rental car agent will tell you
  • Next to the gas tank a warning about the type of petrol.
  • The diameter of gasoline hose has a different size of a diesel hose. It will be hard to put the wrong hose inside the tank.

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Naming can be misleading, e.g. Hyundai ix35 2.0 GDI ... –  PERSONA NON GRATA Feb 23 at 22:33
    
@SantaC.: Gasoline Direct Injection –  vartec Feb 24 at 12:41
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I know. I only wanted to point out that the advice given above can be misleading: 'if the model of the car has a letter D it's a Diesel car' –  PERSONA NON GRATA Feb 24 at 15:35
    
MB doesn't even has D in their diesel cars. –  Karlson Feb 25 at 15:46
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@Karlson: most Mercedes-Benz diesel cars have CDI in the version name, with notable exception of ones equipped with BlueTec (which is diesel-only technology). –  vartec Feb 25 at 17:37
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It's pretty much impossible to put diesel fuel in a regular gasoline car by mistake, the nozzle of the fuel dispenser is way too big. I assume there might be some international standard behind this, at least I noticed it in several countries.

Making a mistake the other way around is actually not that difficult, I have seen it happen. Diesel rental cars therefore usually have prominent signs in several places, including on the little door or cap of the fuel tank itself. I also noticed this on diesel rentals in several European countries.

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In addition to the methods already mentioned:

  • Have a look at the car documents.

  • When you start your engine, or when you have driven some meters you will know it. A diesel sounds and feels differently from a gasoline car.

  • A look at the rev meter can be revealing. The "red area" starts at around 4500/5000 in diesel cars and at 6000 in gasoline cars.

  • Open the tank. Diesel and gasoline have different smells. Diesel has a typical "oily" smell.

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Did not know that about the rev meter, interesting! –  Mark Mayo Feb 23 at 22:59
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The second point is not so true anymore and not helpful at all for someone who is not already used to drive both. –  Relaxed Feb 24 at 10:45
    
It is still true but I agree that it requires some experience with both types of engines. –  PERSONA NON GRATA Feb 24 at 12:32
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