I’ll admit it. I’ve returned a car without refueling it. Sometimes I’ve been shocked at my credit card bill. Other times, pleasantly surprised.
It turns out that car rental places really, really vary in what they charge to refill your car.
(One car rental place waived my refueling fee when I returned the car completely clean during the winter–they were just relieved they didn’t have to wash it and I was only a gallon or so low).
But here are the rates that I could find by contacting different car rental places. If there’s something you want on this list, just let me know in the comments, and I’ll investigate.
For pricing for the fuel itself, I used DC pricing. So if you are in Texas, they may run cheaper and in California it may be more expensive. But it will give you the scale of differences between the car rental companies.
Alamo and National (the same parent company) ended up being the cheapest. Enterprise and Dollar would not disclose, but I seem to remember a fee with Enterprise. Avis and Budget had the most expensive refueling charges of the group. Edit: Thrifty just beat everyone in terms of expensive!
For all of them, remember–if you buy the pre-paid gas but do not use it all, you do not get a refund. They are hoping you overbuy.
They do not have a fuel refill surcharge. What they offer is two options, regular and prepaid.
If you go with the regular option and you do not bring it back the car with the gas tank full, you will be charged $9.79 per gallon. If you choose the prepaid option it will not matter if you bring it back full or not and they only charge $2.909 per gallon initially (but do not refund if you buy more than you need).
They also have the two options. If you choose the regular option, they will charge you $4.14 per gallon. If you choose the prepaid option it will be $2.80 per gallon (but they do not refund what you buy but do not need).
They also have the two options. If you choose the regular option, they will charge you $4.14 per gallon. If you choose the prepaid option it will be $2.80 per gallon (but they do not refund what you buy but do not need). This is exactly the same as National
They informed me that they do not give that information out over the phone.
They also had the two options of regular and prepaid. The regular rate is $9.79 per gallon and the prepaid is $2.91 per gallon. They also mentioned if you drive less than 75 miles they will charge $13.99 per gallon unless you show your fuel receipt.
Dollar said they only give that information out to people renting and only at the counter. So just like Enterprise, I could not get any information from them.
So there you have it. The costs of most the companies I researched. Please let me know if there’s anything you want added to this list!