Mark Bower

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

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Why Full to Empty Fuel Rules have changed for 2015

How Consumer Groups together with the EU have forced a change in practice for car hire firms

Following my recent article on car hire full to empty fuel policy changes being introduced for 2015 I have been asked just how these came about.

Well the background to this story is that the Spanish Consumer Organisation, OCU in conjunction with Which in the UK raised the issue with the EU - Which calls for an end to rip off car hire charges.

OCU then referred to the June letter they sent to EU in an article they published in October last year, in which they also advised that since they had made the point clear to the rental firms the previous Full to Empty fuel policies started changing.

A week later OCU also published an article intriguingly translated by Google as 'Rent a car and that fool with gasoline'

and in that in particular comment:

‘OCU fight against these abuses and has notified the European authorities, who in his answer is emphatic: These practices are illegal. ‘

As a result of the pressure from the consumer organisations and in the knowledge that if they were unlikely to be successful if challenged in court over the practice of charging customers for a full tank of fuel but not refunding anything the hire firms changed their practice.

They have now introduced the Full to Empty with a refund for 2015, but are applying a non refundable service charge – normally €17 - €60 depending on car size (see the Goldcar fuel charges as an example - they charge 40% of the fuel cost of the tankful). The MoneyMaxim car hire fuel policy calculator shows the likely impact of the new policy. It is still substantial.

As importantly for hirers – for the past few years they have got used to trying to return the car empty to minimise the charge – now it is the opposite and its best to return it full. However this will still mean you will ‘lose’ the service charge.

If you still have queries on fuel policies and how it might affect you do use our Ask Mark service and i will be happy to respond.

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