Starting July 1, if you want to drive a car in France you'll have to have not just one, but two breathalyzers in the car to test the level of alcohol in the blood. If you rent the car in France the rental company will provide the necessary devices, but if you rent in another country you're on your own.Breathalyzers

The idea is that drivers should be able to self-test to determine if they are fit to drive. Two breathalyzers are needed because if the first is used the driver still must have an unused one in the car when stopped by the cops.

The legal limit in France is 50 mg per 100 ml of blood, lower than most places in U.S. (80 mg). It has been reported that the devices will be available for sale at entry points into France. If caught without a breathalyzer the fine is about $17. The penalty for driving with a blood-alcohol level exceeding 80 mg is about $5,000 plus possible imprisonment.

We will say more about this when we know more.

Read more about blood alcohol limits in the U.S., France and other countries.

European rental car rates predicted to rise tomorrow, March 1. Best one-week deals today: 7-passenger van in Germany, $468; fullsize Mercedes C-Class, or similar, with GPS and automatic, $311; compact, 4-door VW Golf or similar, $188. These prices all include 19% VAT. In France, a Golf with automatic is $244 and a 7-passenger van is $435. All these prices are way down from a year ago. To book before the end of the month call 800-521-6722...you can always cancel.

PorscheLuxury car rental in Germany starts at the Mercedes E-Class, the BMW-5 Series, and the Audi A-6 level. Since bookings are made by category, not make or model, you can't guarantee what car you'll actually wind up driving but it's relatively certain it will be one of these three. All are automatics and all come with GPS in the price. With tax, these cars are currently in the $650 to $680 per week range, including tax. Make sure your credit card will cover CDW and theft on these vehicles. If not, investigate Amex's Premium Car Rental Protection ($18-$25 per rental, depending on your state of residence). The policy provides primary coverage; in other words it pays regardless of whether you have other insurance. There are a few other perks, as well. Unfortunately, because of state insurance regulations, Amex is forbidden from selling this policy in Georgia, New Hampshire, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Oklahoma.

Those who really want to go in style can move up to the Audi A8, Mercedes S-Class and the BMW 7-Series. These cars are almost certainly excluded from collision and theft insurance by Visa and MasterCard, so look to the Amex Premium plan for coverage. Figure on paying more than $1000 per week with tax, and having to display two major credit cards at the time of rental...one of which must be Gold or higher.

Fast car buffs who want to go 150 mph on the Autobahn can do so in a Porsche Panamera for just under $3,000 per week including tax. There is a limit of 200 kilometers per day, with a €1/km fee after that.

Don't even think about driving any of these cars into former eastern bloc countries (Czech Republic, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, etc.) or Italy. The Porsche can only be driven into Austria and Switzerland, but remember there are speed limits on the Autobahn in those countries.

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European rental car prices have been on the rise since mid-January and are almost certain to continue in the upward direction. By far the best deal in Germany is our guaranteed intermediate to fullsize upgrade with Avis. In the full-size category is very likely you will get a Mercedes C-Class. Plus with that category comes free GPS. The one-week price with tax is $203 through the end of March and $262 for rentals after that date. Get a quote.