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Rental car fuel policy leaves tourists fuming


Booking a holiday rental vehicle can be a minefield in terms of hidden costs and additional extras, and a new strategy of marketing rental cars at low prices is catching out tourists.

The “Collect Full-Return Empty” fuel policy charges customers for a full tank of fuel, and the vehicle must be returned with an empty tank (or as close to empty as is possible). Often the headline rental price does not include the tank of fuel, which can come as a nasty surprise when the car is collected and the fuel has to be paid for. Of course if all the fuel isn’t used during the rental period the leftover fuel is effectively additional revenue for the rental company.

This type of rental agreement may suit people who are planning on doing a lot of driving during their holidays, but is far from ideal for people who are simply using the vehicle to get to and from the airport. The “Collect Full-Return Empty” policy has been commonplace in Spain for the past couple of years, but is now spreading to Portugal and other locations in Europe.

The marketing of the fuel policy can be misleading with many people failing to read the small print associated with the rental agreement before they book. The headline rental price is often very low making the deal look like a bargain, but the end price is often more than doubled when the fuel is paid for.

Advice to visitors in Spain, Portugal and other areas of Europe who are planning to hire a vehicle is to read the fuel policy details in the Terms and Conditions of the rental agreement before committing to book.


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