The Great Rental Car Rip-off

When it comes to renting a car (or booking any sort of travel) there are quite often hidden fees and charges that can quite quickly add up. We’ve written about some of these before in our article: Secrets of the Car Rental Industry. Recently though, I was shocked to see just how much one of these charges can be. In fact, this one item more than doubled the total cost of the rental!

car rental fuel prices

So what’s this mysterious charge that can have such an adverse effect on the cost of your rental? It’s the refueling charge.

If you don’t return the car with a full tank of fuel, the car rental company will have to fill it up before they rent it out to the next person. If this happens, they certainly don’t miss an opportunity to make some extra money. Don’t expect to get away with paying the regular price for fuel; most car rental companies charge a much higher rate for the convenience.

In this particular case (Australia) the supplier charged $3 per litre of fuel (that’s about $10.60 USD per gallon). To make matters worse, they then charge an “administration” fee on top of the exorbitant fuel price.

Original Car Rental Price for 2 Days: $68

Refueling & Admin Charges: $76


Compare that to filling up on your way back to drop off the car.

Regular Cost of 19 Litres of Fuel: $29


Obviously there are some cases where it’s just unavoidable to fill up the car yourself (e.g. if you’re running late for a flight and don’t have time) but it always pays to be aware of how much it will cost if you don’t. Always check the terms and conditions of the car rental supplier so you’re not in for a nasty surprise!

THE MORAL OF THE STORY: There are many fees and charges that may be incurred in different situations. These are always included in the suppliers’ terms & conditions document. It’s important to read the terms & conditions before you book to make sure you’re aware of the real costs. Things like additional driver fees, one-way fees, refueling costs, toll charges etc can all add up.

The “cheapest” rental is not always the best depending on your circumstances. As always, our live chat customer service staff are available to guide you through your booking and they can point you in the right direction if you can’t find the information you’re looking for.


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