2nd Mar 2020 @ 2:23 pm

The Gasolinera, or petrol station, is something you’ll soon get to know on Lanzarote, A place that is often much, much more than a place to refuel your vehicle.

There are all sorts of petrol stations on this island, from basic roadside stops where you can fill your tank and little else, to massive retail operations with carwashes, bars and cafés attached where you can also buy groceries, butane gas, motoring supplies and much, much more.

But the main difference you’ll find in many of the island’s petrol stations is that, although self- service pumps are more frequent, forecourt service is still very much a reality. Foreigners who don’t speak Spanish shouldn’t worry too much, as the pump attendants usually have enough English to serve most people, but it may help to learn a few basic sentences.

You don’t have to tip petrol pump attendants, although if the same one serves you month after month, a Christmas tenner may be a nice gesture. If you want to pay by card or use a loyalty card you’ll probably have to get out of the car anyway.

In self-service stations just tap in the amount of fuel you want, insert the nozzle and pull the handle. It’ll cut out automatically. You can also simply fill up, and the pump will cut off when it senses the tank is full. In the daytime you’ll then go to the counter to pay, but at nighttime you may have to pay for the petrol before filling up.

Most stations offer diesel (gasoil) or petrol (gasolina), and there’s usually a standard and premium version of both available.

Larger stations often offer air and water, allowing you to check tyre pressure and fill your radiator, you can also find self-service carwashes and vacuum cleaning posts.

Then there are famous stations such as the one at Arrieta where you can seemingly buy anything from fishing tackle to freshly-baked bread, or the family-run PCan at Tías where a mechanic will fix your car and change your tyres while you enjoy a decent coffee.