Like any car, a hire car needs fuel and the cost of that fuel is rarely included in the rental price. There are many car hire companies to choose from and each company sets their own fuel policy which can make it confusing for customers. So today we are going to create a sort of Car Rental Fuel Policy Guide. Different people prefer to pay in different ways, choose the right one and you’ll keep your fuel costs to a minimum.
Before you go ahead and choose, you should take a few minutes to find out how they work and which one is most suitable for the trip you’re planning.
When you’re choosing a car, our site clearly shows you which fuel policy comes with each car. If there are any fuel policies you really like (or don’t like), just tick the boxes on the left-hand side and you’ll only see cars with your preferred fuel policy or policies.
Car Rental Fuel Policy Guide – few tips to remember
The car will come with a full fuel tank (or part-full, in some cases). As long as you replace the fuel you’ve used before you drop your car off, there’ll be: No refuelling fees / service charges, no paying more than local pump prices, no paying for fuel that you don’t use.
Although you’ll have to leave a deposit for the fuel, the counter staff won’t actually take any money. They’ll just block the funds on your credit card until they’ve checked the tank at the end of your rental (you may have to wait several days before this money is unblocked).
If there’s any fuel missing at drop-off, they’ll keep some of your deposit: they may charge more per litre than a local petrol station would, and there might be a refuelling fee too. Whether the tank’s full or part-full when you pick your car up, the idea is the same: before you drop your car off, just make sure there’s as much in the tank as there was at the start.
In the case of a “pre- purchase” when you pick the car up, the car hire company will charge you for the fuel in the tank and you should drop the car off as empty as possible (which is why this fuel policy is often called ‘Full to Empty’). You do need to be aware of three drawbacks:
- the car hire company may charge a lot more per litre than a local petrol station would.
- You won’t be refunded for anything in the tank when you drop the car off: you’re basically giving them that fuel for free. Trying to drop the car off completely empty isn’t very realistic and can be risky. Car hire companies often give refunds for unused fuel if you’re renting for 3 days or less.
- About a “pre purchase” refunds: pay for the fuel in the tank when you pick the car up and the car hire company will refund you for whatever’s left in the tank at the end of the rental. This means that you won’t have to worry about finding a petrol station on the way to drop the car off. However, as we said the car hire company may charge a lot more per litre than a local petrol station would. Your refund may be based on eighths of a tank, so if you dropped the car off with a tank that’s almost full, you would be refunded for 7/8 of a tank. Besides, you may have to wait several days before you get your refund for unused fuel.
What about a partial refunds? When you pick the car up, you’ll have to pay for the fuel in the tank which will probably cost more per litre than at a local petrol station and pay a non-refundable service charge to cover the car hire company’s refuelling expenses. You will get a refund for any unused fuel in the tank at the end of the rental, although you may have to wait several days for this. You won’t get the service charge refunded, regardless of how much is in the tank when you drop the car off. Your refund may be based on eighths of a tank — so if you dropped the car off with a tank that’s almost full, you would be refunded for 7/8 of a tank.
You can get also the policy with a free tank of fuel! As long as the rental price is competitive, this can be a great deal. When you pick your car up, the tank will be full. You can drop the car off with any amount of fuel in the tank. This kind of fuel policy can come as part of a special offer of some kind, so there might be something else included in the price as well, such as one or more additional drivers.