Car Hire Fuel Policies: All you need to know

December, 2018.

Hiring a car on holiday makes the trip less stressful, gives you more freedom and is more enjoyable for everyone. Whether you are a regular or a first-timer renter, working out the details can be tricky.

Each car hire brand has different policies for all aspects of car rental, from drop-off times to insurance costs.


The car hire fuel policy is one such confusion. They’re often misunderstood, with an unclear purchase causing frustration for both the customers and the car hire brand.

At Holiday Autos, we want to make life easier for everyone. Our car rental fuel policy guide will help you get a clear idea of the different options available and discover which is the best policy for you.


Fuel policies explained

A car without fuel isn’t a car worth having. Unfortunately, most suppliers don’t include fuel in the car hire price. However, they must explain how you pay for fuel, and how much fuel you’ll get, in their car hire policy.

Before jetting off on your travels, you need to be familiar with the terminology to properly understand just what you’re getting for your money – and avoid any extra charges. So, first things first, here are the different types of car hire fuel policies


Full to Full

How it works: Your car will have a full tank of fuel upon pick-up. When you return the car, the tank must be full.

Benefits: There are no hidden charges. We recommend this policy to our customers as it gives you complete control over what you’re charged in terms of fuel.

Costs: If you’re in a hurry and won’t have time to refill the tank before dropping the car back, this deal may not work for you. You need to make sure the tank is full on return too, or you may get charged extra.

The verdict: We find that most customers are happiest with full to full policies. We also recommend you hold onto your fuel receipt and take a picture of the fuel gauge when you return the car for your own records.

Some suppliers will also offer half to half and quarter to quarter fuel policies.
These work in the same way. Just return the tank with the same amount of fuel as you were given to avoid charges.


Pre-purchase Partial Refund

How it works: At pick-up, you get a car with a full tank of fuel. You will be charged for this at the service desk and you will incur a non-refundable administration fee.

You will be refunded for any unused fuel once you return the car. If you return the car empty, you will get no refund for fuel paid at pick up.

Benefits: Like the full to empty policy, this option works well for those who want to keep the upfront cost down. You can also get a partial refund on any fuel left in the tank on return, making it more cost-effective.

Costs: You may end up paying more for the fuel you get initially, and not get as much back for the leftover petrol or diesel. There’s also a non-refundable admin fee on any refund of fuel, sometimes making your refund worthless.

The verdict: Like the full to empty fuel policy, this option is best for people who will be driving a lot. The bonus of a refund for unused fuel means you won’t lose out by keeping your car well-fuelled. Just be sure to check the terms and conditions when it comes to refund rates and admin fees.


Full to Empty

How it works: At pick-up, you get a car with a full tank of fuel. When you return the car, the tank does not need to be full. There is no refund for the unused fuel with this policy.

Benefits: Low upfront payment on car booking is the main benefit of this policy, as the fuel is bought at the car hire desk. It is also great for customers who want the convenience of not having to fill up before drop-off.

Costs: The total cost could work out more expensive as fuel bought at the pick-up desk is usually above the market rate. An admin fee is usually charged for this policy to cover the charges for someone You also won’t get any money back for fuel still in the tank when you return the car.

The verdict: If you don’t want to worry about refuelling the car, a full to empty fuel policy is best for you. This is ideal for people who know they will be driving a lot and will easily use up a full tank.


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