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Autopay petrol pumps/Carte bleue


andyasj
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Ordinary UK credit or debit cards will not work at out of hours automatic petrol pumps.  This is very inconvenient if touring.  Is it necessary to have a Carte Bleue with a french account (for which I believe you have to pay) or is some other card available?

Cheers, Andy

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Machines in France are gradually being updated so that they can take the later type of chip and pin cards, including those issued by English banks. Some of the petrol stations near points of entry/exit can take English cards. That at Cité Europe (near Calais and the tunnel) has already been mentioned; another is the Esso station next to Champion in Ouistreham on the road from the port out to Caen.

But it will be a long time before all petrol pumps will take English cards, so the best advice is to either make sure you fill up when you can, or to open a bank account with a French bank (some will allow you to have a compte étranger which will give you a card, but you have to pay a fee for the card).

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To get a "compte etranger",you must reside and pay tax outside France and you now will be asked to prove both.Always carry a can of fuel in the boot.I was driving north up the N20 on a Sunday a few years ago and there were no petrol stations open,manned or auto.I eventually came into a village and found one open and the owner got up from his lunch to serve me-by the look of the queue when I left,his lunch was going to be very cold by the time he got back to it.
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[quote user="cooperlola"]Yes, because don't forget, smaller supermarkets in little towns are open on Sunday mornings so even then you can get fuel.  Planning is all![/quote]

 

Planning ahead is DEFINITLY all. Having been in the position of having the low level warning light on in a Range Rover towing a caravan ( NOT good fuel economy) in the middle of nowhere on a feast day made me realise that a religious calendar is almost as important as the spare fuel can.  [:D]

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Remember too that with many engines, especially diesels, (though not necessarily with the newest ones) if you run out of fuel it isn't just a case of refilling the tank from a spare can. The high-pressure fuel lines will need to be bled to remove air from the pipes.

And letting the fuel run right down may mean you are taking in sludge and bugs (literally) into the engine.

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It might be worth mentioning that if you do get really stuck at one of these pumps during out of hours opening, you could just wait a while until someone comes to fill up, and then offer them cash to fill your car up. I've done this on several occasions  for Brits who have been caught out on leaving Ouistreham at the Esso garage. But obviously this should be no longer necessary if this garage now takes UK chip and Pin cards.
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