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I am driving a car with a Diesel engine. I always thought that "Gazole" and "Diesel" were synonymous to each other, only to drive in a gas station which mentioned both terms, as in "Gazole" and "Diesel extra".

This made me wonder if there is a difference between both terms. My car seems to function normally on both. So I guess if there is a difference it must be on the additives added to the fuel. It could also be that one is for agricultural purposes and the other isn't (similar to Red Diesel in the Benelux).

So my question: What is the difference between Gazole and Diesel in French. Am I allowed to use both with a general purpose vehicle?

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1 Answer 1

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Gazole and Diesel are synonyms. They both mean diesel fuel, as opposed to essence or super (short for supercarburant, nobody uses the long form) which means usual car gasoline.

You must use the type of fuel that's appropriate for your car, either gazole or super. I think that diesel engines are more common in cars in France than in most other countries.

The extra word extra means a type of fuel that has advantages compared with non-extra, either to mileage or to engine longevity. As far as I know, the term diesel extra is not regulated, it is only a commercial name chosen by this or that brand.

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are essence and super not different in the sense that essence is unleaded, where as super should be used in vintage cars? –  andra Aug 27 '12 at 20:37
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@Andra The words are polysemic. Essence can mean old-style gasoline (discontinued in the 1980s, I think), or a broaded meaning that includes leaded super (which used to be a higher-grade alternative to plain essence) as well as unleaded gasoline (supercarburant sans plomb), or sometimes any fuel that you'd put in a car (including diesel). Super could mean leaded or unleaded. It's usually clear in context. If you ask for essence or super now in a gas station in France, you'll get unleaded gasoline. If you complain about the price of essence, it covers diesel as well. –  Gilles Aug 27 '12 at 20:53

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