Beware unfair fuel policies car rental companies

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06 Nov 2012 6:08 PM by Rosemary57 Star rating. 1 posts Send private message



I want to let others know of my recent experience with what I consider an unfair fuel policy by some hire car companies. I have recently hired a car in mainland Spain and the company which is part of Europcar charged me, via my credit card, 75 euros for fuel and told me to bring the car back empty. I queried the cost and was told the car, a Hyundai 120 had a fuel capacity of 50 litres and the petrol costs 1.50 euros a litre. I looked up the fuel capacity and found it does not hold 50 litres but max 45 and that most people were getting less than that. The petrol at the local petrol station in Benalmadena was also less than 1.50 euros. I returned the car empty and then received an invoice for 90.75 euros which had been taken from my credit card. The extra money was due to 21% VAT being charged. I complained to Europcar because I believe I have been overcharged, one by the fact the fuel tank capacity is not as stated and also because VAT is paid on the price at the pump and so I have paid the tax twice. They have been less than helpful just stating that it is their policy for rentals over 7 days and that this policy is for the benefit of the customer. I believe that this is done so money can be made on the overpricing and the fact the fuel tank will often be returned with some fuel so they can overcharge the next customer.  I suggested that a fairer policy would be to have the car returned with the same amount of fuel as rental companies such as Avis do. I suggest that anyone booking a hire car checks the fuel policy. I certainly will not be using Europcar again.

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06 Nov 2012 6:29 PM by Vagabond Star rating. 54 posts Send private message


Unfortunately this is nothing new and is the policy that has been adopted by most  hirers over the past few years.

From my point of view it is a complete rip off because as you rightly say most people have difficulty in returning the vehicle empty even after a 2 or three week hire. They will usually only operate a full/full policy if the hire is 3 days or less. 

I regularly hire cars through Alicante Airport and have yet to find anyone who will offer a full/full policy.

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06 Nov 2012 6:34 PM by tamaraessex Star rating in Colmenar, Malaga. 508 posts Send private message

tamaraessex´s avatar
Centauro allow you to return the car with a full tank, either on hires under 5 days, or on all hires once you've hired from them 3 times (which makes you a Gold Club member). They are at Málaga airport, don't know where else.


 Blog about settling into a village house in the Axarquía.

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06 Nov 2012 7:23 PM by goodwin Star rating. 33 posts Send private message

We have been using pjs Rentacar for quite a few years now and there policy as always been with fuel is you return the car as you find it.

Never had a problem with them , staff are always friendly and helpful.

Worth a try

Good luck


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06 Nov 2012 7:34 PM by Jarvi Star rating in Halifax UK and Sucin.... 757 posts Send private message

Charging for more fuel than the car can actually hold seems to be common practice with most Car Hire companies in Spain. However if you shop around the actual price you pay for the hire more than offsets any differential. In the last 2 years I have paid as little as £4 per day. The most I have paid is £12 per day. If anyone is concerned about  giving back un-used fuel they could if they wish wait outside the airport with the engine running until the tank is almost empty, drive in return the car.

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06 Nov 2012 7:35 PM by eggcup Star rating. 567 posts Send private message

Yes, this is a complete minefield.  The best company we have found at Malaga airport is  We have just booked a Renault Kangoo, so quite a large car, for 5 days in December for 56 euros.  They operate a half-tank to empty tank policy, which works fine.  I think they charge a fair bit for the petrol/diesel, but at least it's only half a tank and the hire is so cheap, that we don't worry about leaving a bit in the tank, so as to not panic we're going to run out on the way back to the airport.  They also don't check the cars for damage, as they say that all scratches, bumps etc., are covered by their insurance.  We always have an annual car  hire excess insurance which doesn't cost much, in case anything else comes up.  If you 'join' by logging in, getting a password etc., you get a 10% discount.   


My account of moving to Spain."><img


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07 Nov 2012 1:31 PM by Onlymoney Star rating. 8 posts Send private message

I would recommend Arguscarhire as although they are an agent rather than a hire company, they do show the fuel policies for all vehicles so you can pick full/full if you prefer.  My recent experience was actually at Faro airport but the car was competitively priced, quite new, there was no pressure to buy additional insurance and I specifically booked a full/full fuel policy which was honoured.



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