Refuelling options may be among some of the non-mandatory offers that will be made to you when you are filling out your contract at the rental car counter.
It is important to know what the company is offering before you accept or decline a paid option from the car rental company.
When you pick up your rental car you are supposed to receive a full tank of gas.
Always check your rental agreement to see what is listed as your fuel level and make sure that it is the same as what's showing on your gas gauge. If it says that you checked out with a full tank and you notice that your gas gauge is only on 3/4, call the company to get the information corrected.
Read More about Car Rental Agreements
You can either fill the gas tank before you return the rental or let the car rental company fill it for you and pay a refuelling surcharge. The surcharge you pay may depend on whether you were supposed to refill the car and did not, or whether you purchased a refuelling option from the rental company.
If you choose not to purchase a gas refill option and if you return the vehicle with the same amount of gas with which you received it, then there will be no extra charge... for refuelling the vehicle, but be aware of a possible extra charge that may occur.
Fuel Service Charges
There are some companies now, that charge a fuel service charge if you drive the rental less than 75 miles, even if you fill the gas tank. It is usually between $12 and $15.
They will waive this fee if you show your gas receipt. Many people do not notice this item on their rental agreement (how many of us actually read the whole thing before we take the car?) and end up paying to fill the tank and pay the fuel service charge as well!
All car rental companies will charge you if you do not refill your tank, but most will offer gas options, when they are doing up your contract, in which you pay the company to refill the vehicle for you. Normally how this works is that you pay a certain amount (dictated by the rental car company) to refuel the rental car. This will cover you for a full tank of gas.
There is a factor to keep in mind if you decide to purchase a tank of gas from the car rental company:
You will not be refunded any amount if you return the vehicle with 1/4 tank, 1/2 tank of gas, etc.
Always keep in mind that a refuelling option is generally an option that gives the benefit of convenience and time-saving. Rather than trying to find a gas station (near the rental location) and fill up the car before you return it, you have the peace of mind that you have already made this arrangement. A refuelling option is especially appealing to the busy traveller at the airport who is rushing to return their rental car before hopping on their flight.
*Note: Car rental companies can modify policy at any time; I make every attempt to maintain up-to-date info, but always check with an individual company to verify any policy. See: Disclaimer