All car rental companies have fuel policies. Some companies will take the time to explain their fuel policies during the rental process; others will refer customers to their fuelling options and rules on the car rental company website. Often customers don’t take the time to read what refuelling is required before returning their rental car.
However, reading the rental car refuel policy section is worth your while, as this could save you a lot of hassle and money.
Fuel Policies for Renting Cars
The fuel or gas policy, often highlighted in your rental agreement or on the rental company’s website, is your car rental company’s rules for filling your rental’s gas tank. This policy helps a customer understand the following:
- The amount of gas that will be in the vehicle’s tank when you pick it up.
- The amount of gas that is required to be in the fuel tank when the car is returned.
- What the additional charges are if the fuel tank is not returned with the required level of gas as outlined in the rental company’s policy.
Some companies offer only one fuelling option in their policies; some offer multiple choices to fit different customer needs.
The most popular options you’ll find in the fuel policies for vehicle rentals are:
- Pay in advance fuel policy.
- As rented or like/like fuel policy.
- Full/full fuel policy.
The Pay in Advance Rental Car Fuel/Gas Policy
This policy allows the customer to pay in advance for a full tank of gas at the prevailing fuel rate in the area where the car is being rented, at the time of the rental. The car rental company will set this rate.
When the customer picks up the rental, they receive a vehicle with a full tank of fuel. No additional refuelling is required before the vehicle is returned at the end of the rental term.
There are some solid advantages to choosing this option should it be available. First, there are no hidden fuel costs. You can return the car to the rental company with an empty tank and the gas light on, and not worry about being charged an additional fee to refill the tank with gas. Second, it eliminates the need to search for gas stations at the beginning and end of your rental term.
Often times we rent vehicles in locations we are not familiar with. Trying to find a gas station when you first reach your travel destination, or right before you are required to return your rental car, can be a daunting task. This policy eliminates that stress.
The pay in advance fuel or gas policy option has one large disadvantage to be aware of. Car rental companies will not issue a refund if you return your vehicle with gas still in the tank. It’s hard to know exactly how much gas your rental car will use and how many kilometers you will drive.
If you return your rental with fuel left in the tank, it is essentially a gift to the rental car company. Still, this option might be worth it to avoid the stress of refuelling the tank at the end of your rental time.
The As Rented or Like/Like Fuel Policy for Rental Cars
This policy means when the car is returned, the tank must have the same fuel as when you picked the car up. If the gas left in the tank is more than when you began the trip, there won’t be a refund; but if the fuel is less, you will be charged an extra fee for refuelling.
Often there are two charges; the cost of the missing fuel and the refuelling fee. The refuelling fee covers the effort the rental company must take to go and refuel the vehicle.
A reliable rental car company will not actively rip off their customers, but refuelling vehicles takes time and effort and that needs to be covered in the cost. Make sure you understand the fees associated with this policy if you choose this option.
This fuel policy is not as customer friendly as the others because when paying for the missing fuel, rental companies typically charge a fixed fuel price rather than what it actually costs to refill the gas tank, as well as the refuelling fee.
The burden is on the customer to calculate the mileage planned and be aware of the amount of fuel consumed, and then to refill the tank to the required level. If this is your fuel policy, it is better to overfill the gas tank slightly before returning the rental rather than risking additional fees for refuelling.
Full/Full Fuel Policy for Rental Cars
Like the pay in advance option, with this policy the customer receives a rental vehicle with a full tank of gas. But instead of paying for a full tank up front at the time of rental and then returning the tank empty, you return your vehicle with a full tank as well. Overall this is the most advantageous option because you are refuelling at market rate and not paying a fix fuel rate set out by the rental company or a refuelling surcharge. Just make sure you scope out where the nearest gas station is when you pick up your rental so that you can refuel on your way to return the vehicle.
Related Article: What Is the Most Fuel-Efficient Cargo Van?
The Fuel Policy at an Airport Car Rental Location
One last thing to note: There is no guarantee of being able to return a full gas tank to an airport rental location so the like/like fuel policy may be your only option. Take extra care to read and understand all your fuelling options prior to signing and picking up your airport rental car.
City Car and Truck Rental is a van, car, and truck rental company based in Ontario, Canada. We have competitive rental rates and fuel policies.
For additional information on how full a rental gas tank needs to be when you return a vehicle, you can visit us at 445 Rexdale Blvd., Toronto, Ontario, M9W6P8 (Comfort Hotel Lobby). You can also contact us by calling 416-800-1222 or 1-888-777-9202.