Getting a handle on gas options

Car Rental companies are always looking for new ways to create cash so its no surprise that the gas tank is viewed as a way to do just that. Between convenience charges and penalties – these fees can get a bit confusing.

The first thing to remember as a renter is that Big Companies want you to be overwhelmed. Confused people almost always end up spending more money. Don’t let folks behind a counter smooth talk to you or talk you into forking over cash you don’t need to. To help you out, we’ve listed out some fueling options so that A.) you won’t get gouged and B.) you’ll know the what and why behind rental policies.

Return the car with a full tank of gas

This one’s fairly easy to remember – and that’s to fill up your tank before returning your car. The issue is that people often decide to do so miles from the airport and in some ways – you can spend up to $2 more per gallon to do so (no, that’s not a joke – see Orlando’s car rental gas station). Leave yourself enough time to find a gas station near the airport that doesn’t charge way above average prices and you should be fine. Also – make sure you always ask your rental agent to point out where you’ll bring the car back full. Sometimes companies have different definitions of ‘full,’ so just be wary.

Prepay for fuel

A study as early as 2011 by USA TODAY found that paying ahead paid off many time over – and more often than not charged less than most local gas stations. Not only does it make traveling a little bit less of a hassle, but it also helps you spend your time a little bit more effectively. Instead of racing out to go to a gas station to fill up your tank – you can take your time on that final sales meeting or if you can – book another one.

Why ‘not full enough’ is a serious thing.

Some renters are beginning to claim that the big companies are requiring gas receipts when you return to their kiosks to make sure that your tank is actually full. Another common complaint out there is that if you don’t drive your car at least 75 miles, companies like Budget will charge an EZFuel fee as a penalty if you tried to get away with freeloading off the top of the tank.

Well, there’s a reason for that. Most people know they can drive 100 miles and the gas gage can still say ‘full.’ But the next customer who drives 30 miles and then has to buy five gallons of gas to get it back to full? Let’s just say they’re not happy. The simple solution is to fill up and simply provide your receipt at the kiosk and you’ll save yourself the back and forth!

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