Mark Bower

Car Hire Champion and creator of moneymaxim.co.uk. Mark is an expert in the Car Hire industry.

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Full to Empty Fuel Rules on Car Hire change across Europe in 2015

Pressure from the EU has seen Car Hire firms forced to refund motorists for unused fuel if it's been paid for up front - but fuel scam continues.

My No 1 tip for Car Hirers this year is to pay very close attention to the Fuel Policy included in your car hire package.

Rental firms across many European destinations, including Spain, Portugal, Italy and the UK have, following EU pressure, been forced to abandon the reviled 'Full to Empty' that caused to many complaints to the [http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/ecc/consumer_topics/car_rental_en.htm](EU Consumer Centres who monitor Car Hire Firms behaviours).

In the past many hire firms charged for a full tankful on arrival, and asked renters to return the car empty. This is pretty much impossible as most of us will not run the risk of running out of fuel on the way to the airport so we end up leaving around £20 of petrol when we return it. In addition rental firms also charged a premium rate for the fuel. Of course it was even worse if you only used the car to get to and from your accommodation when you could be wasting £50+.

Instead they will now refund consumers for unused fuel - but to compensate for the lost earnings many companies have introduced 'Customer Service Fees' of between €30 and €60. These are not refundable so are really a hidden cost to be added to your car rental costs.

The amounts will vary depending on a number of factors such as the size of car you are renting, the mileage you might drive and the way you pay for the fuel.

So my really clever colleagues working on our sister website MoneyMaxim have created a natty little tool which will allow you to both work out what the hidden costs for your car rental would be, and suggests ways of keeping your costs down.

I think is fantastic and allows you to work out the real cost of the policy, and then compare rates with the firms offering a 'Full to Full' fuel deal - which may in fact be cheaper.

Try the MoneyMaxim Car Hire Fuel Cost Calculator here.

Any questions? Why not 'Ask Mark'?