Jeff Steiner's Americans in France.
Resource for people that would like to live or travel in France.



Daily Life



Moving Planner


Reading List

Travel Planner


Expat Store

Driver's License



Disposal Units


Learn French

Tax Services

DrivingDiesel vs Gasoline

Here's a short primer on how to decide between buying a diesel or gasoline car in France. This can also helpful for deciding what type of car to rent.

In France 70%+ of cars run on diesel (gazole). Why is this? In short the tax on diesel is less than on gasoline (essence). In the price of a liter of diesel about 55% goes to taxes. In gasoline it's about 65%. It's largely this difference in taxes that explains why the French drive diesel powered cars. The specific taxes is the TIPP - Taxe Intérieure de consommation sur les Produits Pétroliers. The TIPP for diesel is €.42 per liter and for gasoline it's €.59 per liter.

If you're thinking of buying a car in France, it looks like it's a no-brainer to buy a diesel car. Not quite, as diesel cars, especially used diesel cars cost about 20% more than those that use gasoline. It really comes down to how much you drive. As a rule of thumb the diesel vs gasoline cut off is: +25,000 km driving per year you buy diesel and -15,000km per year you buy gas. In between it could be a wash or it would depend on how long you plan on having the car and/or what you can resell it for/type/price and so on. If you know how much you drive per year and the liters per 100 km* of the car you want to buy, you can do the math yourself.

Also keep in mind that the TIPP tax difference is in cents and not a percentage. So the higher diesel/gas prices become the lower the percentage difference, making diesel less attractive.
Get an idea of the price of diesel and gasoline in France.

Other info:

  • Because diesel is cheaper than gasoline, cars running on diesel tend to be driven more and therefor need more maintenance
  • Diesel motors are noisier and emit more fine particles into the air

*Fuel efficiency in continental Europe is measured in liters consumed per 100 km and not mpg.





Search Site