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New rules re: car rental gas returns?

Old Jul 2nd, 2006, 06:31 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 643
New rules re: car rental gas returns?

We just came back from NJ and had rented a car from Enterprise. Unlike all previous experiences with rental companies (inc. Enterprise) we received the car with 1/2 a tank of gas and were told to return it with the same amount.
This proved to be a challange since it was hard to estimate how much we would use during our 10 day stay. Keep in mind that in NJ you can NOT self pump gas so you either fill or tell the employee how much to put in.
We're wondering if the high price of gas made them do this figuring that most clients will have more than the 1/2 tank left. Any other similar experiences with other car rentals?
teacherD is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2006, 06:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I have had rental car companies tell me to return the car with the same amount of gas as was in it at the time of the rental. I have caredully added gas as my wife watched the gas gauge until it got back to the required amount. Not sure how they can manage otherwise. If a car was returned with more than 1/2 a tank, do they siphon off enough gas to get the tank down to 1/2?

What gripes me is that I have noticed that some companies will say their cars are full, when thay are a gallon or so short of actually being full. I suppose when you rent thousands of cars a day, saving $2.75 or more on each car really adds up. Just like the CDW insurance, nothing but clear profit for the company.
jimcolorado is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2006, 06:55 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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This is common practice with local car locations. They do not have gas facilities so they give it to you as it was returned by the last customer.
They have been doing this for many years.
If this rental was at an airport location it is possible that for some reason they do not have easy access to gas. Once I had this happen at an airport because the vendor had a 'broken' fuel storage tank.
I suppose it could happen for a multitude of other reasons.
TxTravelPro is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2006, 06:56 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,567
I don't know that it's a 'new' rule. It happened to us a couple of years ago with Avis. Yes, it's annoying. If the rental car is not a car you're familiar with, you're not quite sure how much gas you need to put in.
caribtraveler is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2006, 07:17 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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My solution has been to get the rental agency to write down the amount of gas in the tank on rental to my simple specification: Only actually Full counts as Full, anything less than full counts as 3/4 full, less than 3/4 counts as a half tank, and so on. Less than 1/4 counts as empty. Mostly, I check the car myself as part of the pre-rental scratch-and-dent inspection and tell them my reading of the gas guage and they write it down as I report it.

A gallon or two of gas is no longer just nickel and dime. My method gives a reasonable margin of error for my return fill-up.
AJPeabody is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2006, 08:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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This is the standard Enterprise policy. It does suck, for the reasons you mentioned. Some companies offer the "pay for a tank up front and bring it back with whatever" but that is not usually a deal unless you will be driving quite a lot.
Seamus is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2006, 04:00 PM
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Seamus, In March we rented from the same Enterprise location and were given a full tank and told to return it full. And JimColorado, we could NOT do what you did since NJ does NOT allow drivers to pump their own gas. No way would a gas station employee allow you to keep stopping him, turning on the engine and checking the fuel gauge.
teacherD is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2006, 04:04 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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I stopped using Enterprise a few years ago. I found they were not trustworthy in the business dealings I had with them.
dontevtar is offline  
Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 12:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,255
teacher- yes, what they say is "bring it back with the same amount of fuel as when you picked it up". If you got a full tank, it is probably because the person ahead of you returned it that way.
Seamus is offline  
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