Buying Fuel In Europe

When you start to do your research for your first motorcycle trip to Europe, one thing you will read time and time again is about your card being pre-charged when you are buying fuel in Europe.

What you have read about petrol stations hanging onto this money for days or weeks is a myth.

The petrol stations will pre-charge your debit or credit card a large amount, the same as in the UK. We were in France and Spain at the end of May 2022, and every time we bought fuel, we paid with a debit card.


The cards were authorised to allow us to fill up with either €120 or €140 of fuel, depending upon where we were buying fuel. The BMW R1250GSA was able to take around €45 of fuel each time, but every single time, the petrol station had taken the correct amount from my account.

Read that again: every single time, the petrol station had taken the correct amount from my account.

Prior to this trip, I was working as a van driver for European Van Courier Ltd, making two trips a month from the UK to Holland, Belgium, France and Spain, and the petrol stations never took the pre-payment amount, they only ever took the correct amount for the fuel I had taken.

And this was the same whether I used supermarket filling stations or regular filling stations.

When we returned to the UK, I wanted to share this information on various Facebook pages aimed at UK bikers touring Europe, and the post was denied approval by the page administrators. I can only assume that the subject of buying fuel in Europe, along with the myth that petrol stations will hang onto your money for days or weeks, generates a lot of traffic to those sites so they don’t want you to know the truth. Well here it is. The truth about buying fuel in Europe


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