Cheap diesel when travelling in Europe

It might sound so obvious, to run on cheap diesel, but so often we see people filling up their motorhome tank near Dover. However, many of these people are on their way to France where fuel is much cheaper! Cheap diesel is the norm for the good people of Calais!

Last year, I cobbled together this article about running on cheap diesel. Following the latest trip to Italy, I am able to add precise figures as to what fuel went in where etc.

The motorhome was last re-fuelled in Oxford during a tip in the UK. From Oxford, we headed north, a journey of about 200 miles, so the tank probably had about twelve gallons remaining. The motorhome stood for three weeks before our journey to Folkestone. From Folkestone through the tunnel and to a fuel station near Calais. The trip from North Yorkshire to Calais is about 280 miles. Therefore, the twelve or so  gallons remaining in the fuel tank should suffice….. However, no one wants to run out of fuel, so here is our fuel strategy to help get to Lake Garda on the cheap!

Day 1 – Boroughbridge – 15 litres added at Morrisons – so the tank was then about three-quarters full.

Day 1 – Calais – the fuel economy had been quite spectacular on the run to the Channel Tunnel terminal, despite leaving the motorway for a while to collect an eBay purchase of some cast iron pans, and also to get another 13 kg Calor cylinder.

The Kon-tiki, powered by the 3.0 litre Fiat Multijet returned an amazing 29 mog on the run from Boroguhbridge to Folkestone

The Kon-tiki, powered by the 3.0 litre Fiat Multijet returned an amazing 29 mpg on the run from Boroughbridge to Folkestone

At Calais, 30 litres was added. This pushed the tank to just over half full. The is no sense and reason to filling at 1.34 euro per litre when it is only 1.18 euro in Luxembourg, some 250 miles away.

Day 2 – Luxembourg – everyone’s favourite – fuel was 98p per litre. The Kon-tiki is fitted with a ninety litre tank. Given I had not filled up at Calais, but “just added enough” to get to Luxembourg, eighty litres went in at these rock bottom prices! (Had we filled up at Calais, we would have probably only put 45 litres in at Luxembourg, so a “saving” of about a fiver). The tank was full to the brim like a piccalilli jar! I will add that the low-level fuel warning light came on about twenty five miles from the service area in Luxembourg. I’ll hazard guess the reserve light comes on when there is approximately three gallons of diesel remaining in the tank.

Day 3 – Pontarlier – again the tank was filled to the brim, as this was the last fuel stop in France. In went 37 litres.

The fuel from Pontarlier saw the motorhome march on through Switzerland, over the Simplon Pass and into Italy. We filled to the brim again at a low-priced Agip service station. Low priced for Italy but a whopping 1.577 euro (about £1.30 per litre) none the less. This fuel would cover local running about and also the journey back as far as the French/Swiss border.

Cheap diesel – don’t leave the UK with a full tank!

I see little point in leaving home – or the UK – with a full tank. Why would anyone waste money fuelling in Dover at £1.35 per litre when diesel is about £1.12 at today’s prices in Calais? Yet people do it…..



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