Dumb question--petrol station in the UK

Travel Forums Europe Dumb question--petrol station in the UK

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Last Post This thread is marked as being about Scotland
1. Posted by EaLaSpada (Budding Member 79 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Yes, this is a stupid question, but what can a first-time driver in the UK, rural Scotland in particular, expect at a petrol station that may be different than those in the US? What prices might I expect, also?

Also, any other tips on driving in the UK, especially on single-lane roads in NW Scotland? I'm effin' nervous... One last thought to those of you living around that area--you may want to stay clear of Sutherland roads for a good week this month.

2. Posted by BlankFrack (Respected Member 280 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I've never driven in the US, but essentially you drive into a petrol station, take the pump from the machine, fill up your car, go to the window/shop and pay, then drive off. No tricks, secret handshakes, or codewords required!

Prices are about £1.15 per litre, so about £4.35 ($6.72) per gallon. I know, that's ridiculously expensive in comparison to what you pay in the US, but what can you do.

As for driving in the North of Scotland, it really isn't a big deal. There is very little traffic and you can therefore go at your own pace. If you find someone driving behind you just pull into the side and indicate left (i.e. towards the side of the road) as a signal that you're letting them pass. If someone is coming in the opposite direction on a single track road then you can usually squeeze past them or reverse to a passing place. Most of the roads in Scotland are not single track though - even in some of the remote areas there are good two lane roads maintained.

3. Posted by laurim (Respected Member 260 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I don't think it's a dumb question! I would be clueless, too. I remember something from the show "The Amazing Race". I don't remember what country they were in, but the contestants had to drive to the next clue and one pair wrecked their car by putting in the wrong fuel. I think their car was diesel and they put petrol in it (or vice versa). Diesel cars aren't that common in the US so we are used to simply putting gas in and the choices we have are just different grades (which are just bogus attempts to get us to spend more because modern cars don't "knock" anymore). Are diesel cars common in the UK?

4. Posted by Jeanie9999 (Budding Member 27 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Don't panic you'll get into it driving on the RIGHT side of the road or do I mean left.
Seriously though you'll be supprised how quickly you get into it and when you get back home you'll have to think about driving on the other side.
I'm from the UK and we've driven all over the world, just take your time, don't forget to go the left way round islands you'll come across a lot of them.
If you can get a sat nav it will warn you which side to drive on each time you start up.
Best of luck

5. Posted by flyingbob (Inactive 842 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Are diesel cars common in the UK?
Diesel cars are becoming more and more popular not just in the UK, but across the planet. They are a little more expensive to buy, but the fuel consumption is much less than a petrol car. There are millions of diesel cars on UK roads.
The UK is one of only a very few places in the world, where diesel is more expensive than petrol to buy. It's not much - only about 2p a litre.
Incidentally, the price of petrol in the UK is around £1.12 a litre at the moment (at the discount store pumps - more expensive on the motorways), which is about £5 a gallon. However, the UK gallon is larger than the US gallon.

6. Posted by mpprh (Full Member 116 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Quoting BlankFrack

Prices are about £1.15 per litre, so about £4.35 ($6.72) per gallon. I know, that's ridiculously expensive in comparison to what you pay in the US, but what can you do.

A couple of points :

Remote petrol stations may be more expensive, and even have service !

1 US gallon = 3.8 litres
1 Imp gallon = 4.46 litres

Only the Brits would sell fuel in litres but compare fuel consumption in miles per gallon ?


7. Posted by thermalCat (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

A very sensible question, but this might be a really dumb answer. My knowledge of US pumps is hopelessly out of date.

Petrol pumps in Europe don't 'lock on'; you have to squeeze the trigger all the time.
(there is still an overflow sensor that stops the fuel when the tank is full)
<insert BP joke>

8. Posted by TravelMc (Full Member 93 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

If you are renting a car it should (hopefully) say by the fuel cap what kind of fuel it takes.

The smaller more remote petrol/gas stations will probably have way more technically informed people in them so start a conversation if you are worried about anything.

The roads in NW scotland (or anywhere in the highlands) are excellent, really. Just remember to stop and enjoy the view or you may find yourself having a cross country moment with your jaw hanging open! The landscape is astounding.

With regards passing oncoming traffic in tight situations (I had serious moments with this coming from NZ where the roads are wide and lovely) just look for somewhere to pull in and let the other car past. Especially if you are encroaching on their lane at all. They should flash their lights at you if they want you to go first!Oh and wave thank you - it makes people smile!

Good luck!

9. Posted by magykal1 (Travel Guru 2026 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Another little thing - sometimes in rural parts of the UK you might just come across the odd little petrol station that isn't self-service. Unusual but they do exist. They will state clearly somewhere if this is the case, and it's usually the old-fashioned looking ones.

10. Posted by EaLaSpada (Budding Member 79 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I appreciate all of your answers--and humoring me! All these answers help, especially knowing to carry cash (most all US pumps are now equipped with automated credit card machines), and how much I'll expect to spend. Thanks for all the tips for driving. If any of you are in the Inverness or the Assynt region in the next couple of weeks, I owe you a drink!

Unless, of course, I die in a fiery collision...