How do you like to get around when you're on holiday or on a business trip? Depending on your schedule (and the quality of the transport network at your destination), public transport might be perfectly adequate. If you're on a tight schedule and need to visit numerous places at your destination, then you might be looking for a car to rent in the city you're travelling to. You have probably heard about the so-called petrol problem when it comes to rental cars. This is essentially a surcharge that can be applied when you fail to return the vehicle with a full tank of petrol. Of course you want to avoid this surcharge if possible, so what can you do to overcome it?

Schedule a Refill

It's really just a question of scheduling enough time to fill the car up before you return it. This can be easier said than done. On the last day of your trip, you might be more concerned with checking out of your accommodation and getting to the airport in time for your flight. So really, you just need to allocate enough time to fill up the car at a competitively-priced petrol station. You could consider making use of a real-time petrol price app. This allows you to find the best price en route to returning the car at the rental depot, thus avoiding the petrol surcharge entirely.

Prepaid Petrol

Some car rental companies offer the option of a prepaid tank of petrol. But how does this work?

  • You still pay a surcharge, and this covers the cost of refilling the vehicle once it has been returned. You will pay significantly less than if you had not opted for this inclusion and then returned the car without a full tank of petrol.
  • The cost of the surcharge varies from company to company and also changes as petrol prices change. You should enquire about the price before committing to the rental. Cross reference the car rental company's price for prepaid petrol with the average price of petrol in the area (which you should check beforehand).
  • You should also remember that you will not be compensated for any petrol that might be left in the tank when you return the car. The surcharge covers a full tank of petrol, and you will pay the same regardless of whether the rental company needs to refill the entire tank or only to top it up.

These options are cheaper than if you were to return the vehicle without a full tank of petrol and no prepaid scheme. It's really important that you remember to take care of the petrol issue when you rent a car, otherwise you might be out of pocket.