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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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gazole is simply the french word for "diesel". it's that simple. – Joe Blow Jun 26 at 1:44
@JoeBlow No it isn't that simple. The whole idea about this question is that I am aware of gazole being diesel and yet both words are used in French, sometimes even at the same filling station. – user141 Jun 26 at 10:07
Hi Nonsense. Both words mean exactly the same thing. It's common in French, just like in English, that there is more than one word for the same thing. They have exactly the same meaning. Some of the marques have products like "Diesel Supreme" or "Diesel Ultra" and so on, which are just high octane fuels. For these "product names" (like "Big Mac") they might use one, or the other, of the two words. The words do not indicate something like "red diesel" or ethanol blends; also Gilles has explained it at letgth. – Joe Blow Jun 26 at 16:51

2 Answers 2

up vote 17 down vote accepted

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? – user141 Aug 27 '12 at 20:37
@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
"are essence and super not different in the sense that essence is unleaded" in short No. there is no leaded petrol whatsoever available in France. "super" is, basically, just high octane unleaded. – Joe Blow Jun 26 at 1:44
Leaded fuel has been banned in the EU for 15 years (almost all countries have either banned it, or are in some phase of banning it). – Carpetsmoker Jun 27 at 0:35

Gazole and Diesel are synonyms - end of story.

Regarding the confusion over brand names like "diesel blah" (supra! ultra! etc),

for example Totale has "Total Excellium" !

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which is nothing more than a registered product name (like "Big Mac" or "Toyota Corolla").

BP has "ultimate" (for both Gazole-aka-Diesel and essence)

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(Note that in that example it happens to be officially named "bp ultimate diesel" (apparently in miniscul) and they add the word gasoil after that in the blue and green logo .. presumably because gasoil is more of a French word than diesel; you know about the requirements for French language in pub in France.)

I believe the confusion over the addendum "extra" is that you are simply seeing these type of product names, that have words (like "extra" or "ultimate") on the end.

There is no special meaning (as you ask, additives or the like) to "extra". And, certainly, gazole / diesel are precisely the same thing: there is no difference between the two (such as additives, etc) - they are literally synonyms.

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