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Old 08-16-2015, 12:31 PM   #1
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Buying diesel in Canada

I recently bought a Ford F-250 diesel, and have been getting used to looking ahead at the price/gallon sign to determine if the service station I want to go to sells diesel. Our first big trip since buying the Ford will be to Canada in a few weeks. Is there anything I ought to know about buying diesel in Canada? Do they generally post on a sign that you can see from the street if they sell diesel? US service stations only seem to sell one kind of diesel, which hopefully is the type I should be using. Is that the same in Canada, or do they sell more than one type? I've read that some service stations in Canada will accept US credit cards, while others won't. Does that mean I should carry a couple extra hundred dollars to buy diesel in stations that won't accept my US Visa card? If so, should I be carrying Canadian dollars, or will the stations accept US dollars, if they won't accept my US Visa? This is my first trip to Canada, and if there are any questions I should be asking that I haven't thought of in this post, then please feel free to answer those too. Thanks!
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Old 08-16-2015, 12:56 PM   #2
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Canada is a big place, it may well depend on what specific places you are heading to.

The diesel you find at any name brand fuel station will be fine in your truck. Ford sells a lot of diesel pickups here, same with GM and Ram.

Stations often have a diesel placard on the street sign to indicate that they have diesel fuel. Not all pump islands will necessarily have diesel, so figure it out before you find yourself boxed in.

You shouldn't have any issue with US credit cards. You should carry Canadian dollars (available at any ATM) and not US dollars, which aren't legal tender here. Some places may take them, but many don't want to bother given the volatility of the exchange rate. If they do, you are not likely to get a competitive rate.

Enjoy your trip!

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Old 08-16-2015, 01:26 PM   #3
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As far as buying diesel, I believe you will find things pretty much the same as in the US and won't have any problems at all.

As for credit cards - I can't confirm, but I would find it very hard to imagine you would have any problem as long as it is a recognized card such as Visa. Certainly we have never had a problem buying diesel fuel .... or anything else .... with our Canadian Visa cards in the US.

Have fun! .................... Brian.
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Old 08-16-2015, 01:37 PM   #4
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Check with your credit cards as to the exchange rate they will charge you compared to just converting to Canadian. Sometimes the after charge can be a surprise.

Are they charging the date of purchase or the date of processing?
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Old 08-16-2015, 01:42 PM   #5
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Issues with using a US credit card outside the US (not just in Canada) can also relate to whether the visitor is using a chip and PIN card or not. Many of our fuel pumps now require a PIN number, otherwise you may need to go into the station and do an old fashioned transaction. We have similar problems in the US when our Visa cards are often not recognized at fuel pumps because we don't have a US postal code to enter, and so we have to go in to see the attendant.

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Old 08-16-2015, 01:54 PM   #6
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Just as U.S. Stations have to process Canadian issued cards at the register and not at the pump, so it is with American cards at Canadian stations. Minor inconvenience, a chance to use math skills and practice moving decimals in the metric system, and to interact with people....


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Old 08-16-2015, 02:05 PM   #7
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Thanks for the responses so far. We're going to Banff, Lake Louise, and parts of the Canadian Rockies. I'll have my B of A debit card, which requires an access code, so maybe that will work better than a Visa charge card.
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Old 08-16-2015, 02:13 PM   #8
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In eastern Canada a couple years ago. We used gas but payment was not a problem. Used AMEX or Visa at the pump. In Quebec, look for the little button on the pump labeled "language" to convert the pump menus to English so that you don't accidentally buy a wash or additives you don't want.
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Old 08-16-2015, 03:48 PM   #9
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If you use a smartphone (iPhone or Android) there is an app called "Gas buddy". It will give you the prices and availability of fuel in Cfuel. I set to show "diesel" so those are the only fuel stations that pop up.

Buying fuel in Canada is just like buying it in the USA. Just be careful which pump you use, as the one for diesel has a yellow nozzle. As well, the price is in $/litre.
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Old 08-16-2015, 04:17 PM   #10
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When outside of the US, our greedy US banks also charge a 3% surcharge on both credit and debit card transactions. I think the accounting entry is "additional paid in profit with no off setting costs" or words to that effect.

Note they made the initial profit on the exchange rate plus the merchant's fee.......

You will also find in some locations that there are two grades of diesel (like regular and premium gasoline) with one having a higher Cetane rating and costing 10% more per unit of measure.

Also Canada sells fuel by the liter which is 1.05 times bigger than a quart. So four liters would be 1.2 US gallons.
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Old 08-16-2015, 04:46 PM   #11
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Of the two grades of diesel, do you know which would be better for a Ford F-250?


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Old 08-16-2015, 05:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by switz View Post
When outside of the US, our greedy US banks also charge a 3% surcharge on both credit and debit card transactions.
Check with your credit card company as not all charge the foreign transaction fee. Our SW credit card doesn't so it is used exclusively when traveling out of the country.
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Old 08-16-2015, 05:05 PM   #13
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Notify your credit card company that you will be traveling in Canada so they don't lock your card. Ask me how I know..ha! They'll be happy to put a note on your account. This is for your protection.
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Old 08-16-2015, 05:22 PM   #14
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By chance, if looking into the rear of your pickup and a very hairy set of paws followed by a hairy face ends up beside you on the tailgate......diesel may well be the last thing on your mind.

Don't laugh...

Jasper, Banff early 70's my family looked on with bemused horror as the wife of the next site camper scampered off to the washrooms leaving her husband who was loading their station wagon, as a bear came up and heaved himself through the opening in the back of the station wagon. Imbedded in my skull for the rest of eternity was the sight of the back end of the husband right beside the back end of the bear at the end of that station wagon. It may only have been a couple of seconds before the husband ejected himself out the back and scampered off to the washrooms, but it felt like an eternity to the four of us in our Westfalia.

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