Gas stations are called “GA-SO-RI-N SU-TA-N-DO” in Japan. There have been problems due to confusion over the names of the various types of fuels, so learn what they are beforehand.

*The abbreviations GS for gas stations or SS for service stations will be used below.

Where are gas stations?

Gas stations can be commonly seen in urban areas or along the busy main roads, but they are rarely found once you are away from a city or along a road with very little traffic. There are more GS along highways with 2 or more lanes and other roads which large-sized vehicles such as trucks utilize. Regarding operating hours, you should be aware that while some GS are open 24 hours a day in urban areas, some gas stations in the coun- tryside where there is little traffic may close after 18:00 during the week and may not be open at all on weekends. It is advisable to refuel frequently to prevent running out of gasoline. Keep a close eye on the amount in the tank, particularly if you are leaving an urban area.

There are two types of gas stations

There are two types of gas stations: a. “Full Service” where sales staff are always present and refuel for you and b. “Self Service” where you refuel your own car. Prices are slightly cheaper at self-service stands. At full service stands, all you have to do is to tell the staff what kind of gas you want and how much, either in liters or yen. If you want a full tank, just say “MA-N-TA-N” (full tank). The staff will refuel your car and offer services such as wiping your car’s windows. Every once in a while, you will be offered a free map or pack of tissues.

There are three types of fuel with two types of gasoline.

Fuel comes in three types including “HI OKU” (high octane), “regular” and “diesel.” Rental cars in Japan, for the most part, have gasoline engines and require “regular” gasoline. There are virtually no rental cars with diesel engines so under no circumstances should you use diesel fuel in a rental car. The car will not run if it has been filled up with diesel fuel. Additionally, gasoline sold in Japan is virtually all lead-free.

Types of fuel (gasoline)

Be careful not to confuse the gasoline types when refueling at a self-service stand!

Generally speaking, “regular” means gasoline with an octane value of approximately 90, whereas, “Hi-Oku” (high octane) means gasoline with an octane value ranging between 98 and 100. Depending on the gas stations, “Hi-Oku” will have a unique product name such as “Premium,” “Super,” “F1,” “Vigo,” “Super Magnum” or “Shell Pura” that identi- fies the high octane gasoline as a product that improves fuel efficiency, ensures optimum engine performance and has energy and environmental qualities.

Identify the gasoline type by the color of the nozzle! The nozzle of regular gasoline is RED.

The colors of gasoline stand nozzles are standard- ized across the country with red being “regular”, yellow being “high octane” and green being “diesel”.