Fuel policy: which one is the best for your rental car?

Some car rental companies explain in detail the fuel policy, while the others do not mention in to the customer. They simply refer to the car rental rules, however, not all the customers are aware of them. It would be worthwhile to read the rules and the fuel policy described in them, as this can save a lot of money and protect against unreliable car rental companies.


What is the fuel policy for rental cars?


A fuel policy, also fuel tank policy or gas policy, are simply the rules of the fuel tank. It tells you how much fuel will be in the tank when picking up the car and how much fuel should be at the end of your trip. The fuel policy helps the customer to have an understanding of:


  • how much fuel will be in the tank when picking up a rental car;
  • how much fuel must be in the tank when returning the car;
  • whether there are additional charges, and if so, which ones, if the car will be returned with less fuel than agreed.


The following fuel tank policies are the most popular:


  1. Empty / Empty; aka Empty for Empty
  2. Like for Like; aka As Rented
  3. Full gas policy; Full tank; Full for Full; Full/Full


Fuel policy Empty-for-Empty for rental cars


This fuel policy means that the customer receives the car with an empty tank and it doesn’t matter at all how much fuel is left when returning the vehicle. Empty for Empty fuel policy is the least favorable to the customer.


First of all, at the beginning of the trip, as soon as the engine is started, the empty tank light comes on. Such a situation can easily cause stress, as it is not clear when that light bulb turned on and how many kilometres are left.


Second, as soon as you start your journey, you have to look for the nearest gas station. They are usually a few or several kilometres away from the rental location. If you are local, that’ not an issue at all, but for the tourists it is different story.


Let’s imagine: a family of foreign tourists with young children get out of the 7 hours flight late at night,  pulls large suitcases for a month’s vacation in Lithuania; all tired, hungry, sleepy, or otherwise unhappy.


Eventually everyone gets in a rented car, fastens their seat belts and would like to travel quietly to a hotel in another city, but need to look for a gas station. At night. In winter. In a real snowy Lithuanian winter, which hit the country unexpectedly again.


Third, when refueling, you need to know exactly how much fuel your car is consuming and think about how many kilometers you plan to drive. Why? The car will need to be returned in an empty tank, and if there is any fuel left in it, no money will be refunded. The fuel left in the fuel tank will be a “gift” to the car rental company.


Calculating and planning can complicate a trip, so people usually refuel without planning or calculating. That’s how at the end of the trip fuel tank is far from being empty.  Some choose to intentionally “run out” of fuel by driving aimlessly so that the tank is empty. Others, meanwhile, return the car with a half-tank to the car rental company and thus increase the cost of the rental car.


Fuel policy Like-for-Like for rental cars


Such a fuel policy means that when returning the car, the tank must contain exactly the same amount of fuel as it was when the vehicle was picked up. If there is more fuel left in the tank than it was at the start of the trip, there will be no discounts or reduced rent for this, but if a few liters are missing, the customer may have to pay extra.


In particular, there may be 2 fines/charges: refueling fee and the price for missing fuel.


Refueling fee: this is commonly referred to as a logistics or refueling fee, which is payable for the delivery of fuel. Reliable car rental companies that do not seek to make money from customers in this way and do not charge such a fee at all or it is very small, for example, 5 or 15 euros. There are also companies in Lithuania that charge 105-270 euros for fuel delivery.


TopRent does not charge any additional fee for fuel delivery.


Second, you will have to pay for the missing liters of fuel. It should be noted that car rental companies usually have a fixed price for fuel, whether the car uses petrol or diesel. In this case the market price is not taken into account. The usual price per liter of fuel is 2.5-3 euros.


This policy is similar to Empty / Empty in that you need to calculate your planned mileage and know how much fuel a car consumes per hundred kilometers. The customer will suffer a loss in both cases: when the car is returned with too much fuel, and when there is too little fuel, therefore Like for Like fuel policy is not very favorable to the customer.


Fuel policy Full-for-Full for rental cars


A full / full fuel policy means that the customer receives the car with a full fuel tank and when returning the car the tank must also be full. Full to Full fuel policy is the most favorable fuel policy for the customers, as the customer pours in as much fuel as he or she has consumed during the trip and pays for the fuel at the market price, not the one set by the car rental company.


This is the fuel policy that TopRent applies.


In addition, it is also the least stressful fuel policy, as you will not have a light warning when you pick up the car, you will not have to look for the nearest gas station, and you will be able to travel on your planned route immediately.


Before returning the car, you need to fill the tank – you can do it at the nearest gas station. Gas stations are a couple of kilometers away from all TopRent pick-up points in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda and Palanga Airport. We recommend that you save the receipt you received when you bought the fuel, you may need it if you have any questions about adding the car.


TopRent managers never ask for receipts, but other car rental companies may require one.


There have been cases where customers had to pay additional fees simply because they did not have a receipt even though the tank was completely full.


If you don’t know where the nearest gas station is, ask your car rental manager.


Our recommendations:

1. Whenever possible, choose a Full-for-Full fuel policy.

2. Inquire about additional charges and fees if there is less fuel upon the return of the rental car. 

3. Find out which gas station is the closest to the car rental location.


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