If you are planning to hire a car this half term be clear on the rental company's fuel policy, as increasingly consumers are finding themselves paying over the odds for a tank of petrol on arrival, when they thought this was included in the original price, or being expected to bring back an empty tank when they're only driving on a small Spanish island.
A new YouGov survey, commissioned by iCarhireinsurance.com, the leading provider of stand-alone car hire excess insurance, found that nearly half (47%) of hire car drivers have had a fuel related issue when hiring a car.
- One in nine (12%) have been asked to pay for a tank of fuel when they collected the hire car when they thought it was included (and 15% knew they wouldn't be able to use all the petrol). Paying on average £50* a tank, the hire car deal may not be such a good deal after all especially with most rental desks charging significantly more than the local fuel price.**
- One in five (19%) have been asked to return the car with an empty tank but have been unable to do so, so are paying for unwanted petrol.
- One in seven (15%) were also unsure if they needed to return the car with the tank full or empty. If a full tank is required, but the car is returned without one, drivers can be charged up to £100.*** Some rental companies are now fining customers if they cannot provide a refuelling receipt from a petrol station proving that they refuelled the vehicle, even if the gauge is on full.
- One in seven (14%) have been unsure if the car took petrol or diesel. It costs around £300**** to professionally drain and refill a tank if dealt with immediately, but if the engine is turned on and the car driven, the cost to repair the engine damage can be as much as £5,000*****. iCarhireinsurance provides up to £1,000 towards the costs of rectifying miss fuelling errors on its policies.
Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of iCarhireinsurance.com said: “Make sure when booking your hire car that you check the fuel policy. There are some great hire car deals available, but if you have to pay for a tank of fuel when you arrive, especially if you're not going to be able to use it all, it may not be such a great deal after all. Modern cars can do over 600 miles on a full tank, which is more than four times around Ibiza for instance.”
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,404 adults, 1,013 of which have rented a car. Fieldwork was undertaken between 25th - 28th April 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
The 47% figures is based on the result that 45% said they had never had any of the fuel issues we highlighted to them, and 8% said that they don’t know or could not recall if they had any of them, therefore 47% have had one of the fuel issue happen to them.
* £50 is based on the iCarhireinsurance.com 12 country study research into the costs of hiring a car
**£62 for a tank in Ibiza when the local price is £45 – based on Sunday Times article.
*** Telegraph 2013 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travel-advice/9943052/Car-hire-refuelling-charges.html
**** According to the AA
***** BIBA 2007 210Km around Ibiza – according to - http://www.ibiza.islasbaleares.com/en/isla.html