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How to beat car rental fuel charges?

Car Rental Fuel Policy

Some simple rules to save you money on your rental car

We all know that there are some great deals out there in car hire but how do we take full advantage of them? Unfortunately like everything else, it comes down to the fine print sometimes. Today we will take a look at fuel charges, because it seems to be a charge is causing some confusion for people. There are a number of different fuel policies on offer from the car rental companies at the moment, the main ones are outlined below:

Types of Car Hire Fuel Policies

  • Pick up full, return full
  • Pick up half full, return half full
  • Pick up full, return empty

So what does these mean for your pocket? And how can knowing more about your fuel policy save you money?

For any of these policies, the car rental company puts the correct amount of fuel in the tank. They will charge you for the fuel upfront and if you return your car with the correct fuel amount, your original fuel charge will be refunded to you. However, if you do not put fuel in the car as per your agreed policy; you will pay for the fuel (up to the amount that should have been in the car) at the car rental company’s price, not the fuel pump price. This will cost you more, so always check your fuel policy and give yourself ample time to get to a fuel station before you drop off your car.

Avoid Pick Up Full, Return Empty Policy

The fuel charge to really watch out for is the ‘pickup full, return empty’ policy, as you have no way of avoiding the fuel company charges. You pay for the full fuel tank upfront (at rental car company prices) and then you need to return the car as empty as possible. It is usually the policy of these companies to not refund you for any of the fuel you may have left in the tank. This is a no win situation for the consumer and simply money making for the car rental company. Therefore, I would advise to spend a little more on the rental car if you have to and ensure that you avoid ‘Pick up full, return empty’ fuel policy.

Choose Pick Up Full, Return Full

Best fuel policy to choose is pick up full, return full, and then there is no confusion about the amount in the tank. Let’s give you an easy example; I hired a car two weeks ago in Ireland with a pick up full, return full policy. At the time of pick up at the rental desk, I had to allow them to put the cost of a full tank of fuel on my card. They said this was €95, but I had hired a Toyota Yaris and a full of tank of petrol actually cost me €75. If I were to return the car without filling up the tank, the car rental company would have made an extra €20 on my rental. However, I stopped off at the filling station, paid pump prices and therefore only paid for the fuel that I had used.

At Car Booker we don’t believe in hidden charges on your car hire, so we have made it really simple, and feedback from our customers is really positive. One of the big compliments from our customers at the moment is our new look results page, which shows all the rentals cars available AND it also simply presents any charges or terms for that booking.

So for our final Car Booker advice on fuel charges:

  • Always choose a carrental provider that gives you clear details on any charges that may apply.
  • Avoid Pick Up Full, Return Empty Policy
  • Always know the fuel policy on your booking
  • Always make time to put fuel in your car before drop off

And remember… always drive safe x

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