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Fuel system

The fuel system your vehicle runs on can have a great impact on the style and cost of a trip. Diesel engines are more efficient than petrol engines of the same size but lack the same kind of acceleration. Unless the engine is fitted with turbos overtaking isn't so easy. Despite this, large diesel engines are generally reliable and waterproof and can keep going for longer. Diesel fuel is also significantly cheaper than petrol in most European countries.

Petrol is widely available in a range of grades, but more expensive on the continent than diesel. The prices are still cheaper than in the UK with the possible exception of Italy where self-service pumps are rare and every garage has four or five attentants. LPG provides a cheaper fuel for petrol engines, although this is much harder to get hold of particularly as you travel further east. There's also the initial cost of having a vehicle converted.

Overall, if your trip involves many of the Eastern European states then diesel is probably the best alternative. Fuel efficiency over such a long distance becomes significant, and diesel prices are much lower there. You won't necessarily be going anywhere fast, but this is less of an issue when all the other cars on the roads are old Skodas.

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