Car Rental Fuel Gauge – not quite full at start of rental

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This topic contains 24 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  JohnHarper 14 Jun 2016
at 13:13

Viewing 10 posts - 16 through 25 (of 25 total)

  • AMcWhirter

    Correct me if I’m wrong …. but I believe the car rental industry was the first (travel provider) to dream up the concept of ancillary fees and all the other add-ons which have since been adopted by the LCCs.

    I recall writing about off-airport car rental at MIA way back in 1980 and seeing what a cut-throat business it was with extras and fees galore inflating the final hire price.



    I know a car hire franchise operator here in Malta, who tells me that a difference of a euro a day in rates between companies has significant impact on sales, here.


    My solution would be to refill the car appropriately!


    but to be clear, unless the car hire companies are ‘siphoning’ off a little bit of fuel after each car is returned, this is just one renter saving a few pennies which hits the next renter?


    Hmm…interesting thread.

    My experience is that the shortfall is generally more marked here in the UK than in the USA. I rather like the bring it back empty model if I know I will use at least a tank. I have in the past arrived at the drop off point in something a cold sweat as I really had no idea how much further the gas would take me!

    More recently in the US I encountered Dollar Rental Cars and their refill within 10 miles policy. They check the gas receipts and I was actually challenged as I had filled up 15 miles from the drop off point.

    In every one of my recent Dollar rentals the receipts were asked for.

    Mind you following these rentals I have become an even bigger fan of Alamo. Dollar’s cars were old, dirty and the queues for pick up some of the worst I have seen anywhere.


    Recently at Zurich there was a fierce argument between the reception and some poles. They had paid for a full tank and were told they could bring it back empty – as we all are if we fall for this con.

    Anyway, that’s what they’d done. Bought it back empty. Literally. Apparently pushing it the last 100 metres. Hertz wanted to charge then a call out fee and they refused this saying they’d done as bought and even written in the contract. Police were called but even they took the side of the Poles. eventually Hertz relented and they left without paying a penny more!


    I have to say, IMHO the whole thing is a complete racket from the Car Hire companies. If it wasnt they would help you comply, ie show you where the nearest petrol station was on your route back to the drop off point and expect to see evidence that you have filled it.

    Like Ryanair’s baggage or boarding pass policy, they set complex rules and profit from a customer not complying.


    I started this thread since it looked like I received a car with a tank only 89% full…. Although 8 out of 8 led lights were illuminated indicating “Full”

    Earlier in the day I returned the car, I filled up completely.

    I then drove a further 150km and the gauge still showed 8 put of 8 led lights, so still “Full”

    Close to the airport, I put 3 litres in (just to ensure the gauge did not drop down to 7 out of 8) and returned the car “Full” , largely as I received it.

    Looks like this is another area the frequent traveler needs to be an expert to avoid being ripped off.


    An interesting thread. I had a couple of Avis rentals last week, in Germany. Both were booked through a broker, Holiday Autos / CarTrawler,so do not qualify for frequent renter benefits, but the direct rate was significantly higher.

    The first rental, at HAM, the agent was totally pedantic, and criticised me for buying through a broker. He refused to use my Avis Presidents Club card to make paperwork easier for him, and told me repeatedly that I could not have miles or an upgrade. I knew that, and had only asked once, in hope.

    Next day at STR the agent was the opposite. He understood that brokers often get much better deals than regular customers, enabling brokers to undercut the provider and still make a margin. I told him about the guy at HAM and he said: “Don’t worry. You’re dealing with a Pro here.” Result was that he edited my booking to allow an upgrade and miles.

    I had told him that I did not need insurance or fuel, but he told me that he was adding a pre-paid tank and that if I took it back full the returning station in Köln would credit the fuel. I just checked, and he was right.

    Solution seems to be that, with the majors, the pre-paid fuel option is best. Just remember to check that it will be credited.

    I do believe that the major car rental companies will go the way of hotels, and start to realise that giving discount, or price guarantees, to top tier customers will increase loyalty, and their own revenue


    I’ve had three recent very positive experiences of Avis, I don’t think I’ve ever had a particularly bad one but three lots of very caring staff in the last three months was very noticeable. The last one involves the fuel gauge!

    First at NAP, I had booked something fairly basic without thinking about how far I had to drive. If you’ve done it you will know that picking up a car at NAP is far from easy and involves a minibus ride from the terminal. Once there there was a queue but it was well managed and combed for priority customers which I am. I was taken to the far end of the desk away from the crowds and a very pleasant lady assisted me. She asked about the journey I needed to make and then told me I needed a bigger car and did a significant complimentary upgrade. The return was as painless as the check out and took about three minutes. There had been a small scratch to the wing while the car was parked for which I was ready to take the hit but I was told these things happen and it was waived.

    Next was a check out of Berlin Europa Centre where again my car was upgraded when they looked and saw the return was MUC. The man was again very helpful and came to guide me out of the car park into Nurnburger Strasse for which I was grateful. Arriving at MUC there were no problems and it’s a generic check in used by all the companies but I was met by a very helpful man with a great sense of humour who made a great start to the day – it was only 05.30.

    Lastly NCL, again a complimentary upgrade and asked if it was OK and did I like the car I was being offered better than the one I had booked. I didn’t really want the upgrade so was offered a double upgrade which was far better. The fuel gauge played up, I wasn’t going far, a round trip of 60 miles and the gauge didn’t drop at all. Nonetheless I stopped just short of the airport to fill it up which I did to full and when I got in and restarted the fuel gauge dropped to half. I didn’t have time to investigate and explained on check in what I had done. They looked at the mileage and recognised that I couldn’t have used that much fuel anyway and immediately closed off the invoice to prevent any further problem arising.

    All in all, great service and far better than I expect of them.

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