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I am planning on renting a car in Germany and will cover approx. 1,500 km. I notice that diesel is significantly cheaper in Germany than petrol, so hiring a diesel car will save me a bit of money.

When I look at car hire using sites such as Expedia, they always refer to a car type, e.g. "Compact - VW Golf or similar".

Is there any way to stipulate that I want a car which runs on diesel?

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    It's been a few years since I hired a car in Germany, but at that time most hire cars were diesel, except the smallest (and presumably sports cars). Fleets turn over fast, and dieselgate may have changed things, which is why this is only a comment. The difference appears to be around €0.23/litre, and reckoning on 10 km/litre thats around €21 extra for petrol (assuming equal efficiency; diesel may save you a little more than this ). So it's worth doing if the hire cost is the same – Chris H Jun 10 at 15:03
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    Yes; there are car rentals that allow you to specify diesel. But this will cost you extra so you'll win nothing on 1500km and even pay more. – Neusser Jun 10 at 15:10
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    Sixt offers you to book a Diesel option (on their website), which costs an additional 7 Euro per day. So you have to calculate if it's really worth it. – dunni Jun 10 at 15:39
  • Not knowing where you are used to drive otherwise, please ask yourself if you are comfortable driving with a manual transmission as well. Some car rental compainies will also allow you to choose if you want an automatic transmission. Otherwise unless you are into SUVs oder luxury cars, your chance is about 50:50 when it comes to both transmission and fuel type. – TorstenS Jun 10 at 16:00
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Car rental types are generally defined by SIPP codes, which is a standard defined by a consortium of car rental companies. These are 4 character codes that indicate the size, type, transmission/drive, and fuel type/air conditioning. For example, ICMD represents an intermediate (I) size 2/4 Door (C) car with manual transmission (M) and diesel with air conditioning (D). ICMQ would be the same without air conditioning. Incidentally, this is why you generally don't get to choose a specific model of car - you've actually booked any car that happens to match a particular SIPP code, hence the "VW Golf or similar". So the good news is that it's possible to tell a car rental company what type of car you want to a fair degree of precision.

The bad news is that websites generally won't expose these codes to you, especially the last character. Off the top of my head I'm not aware of any site that lets you explicitly search by SIPP code. Your best bet is likely to communicate directly with the local rental office. It's also possible that a travel agent would be able to book a car by SIPP code, if you want to go that route.

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