Precise fuel measurement?

Old Apr 17, 2022, 8:55 pm
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Precise fuel measurement?

I’ve never seen this and I drove 20 miles after filling up and fuel gauge still showed “full”… so probably right but how would National know?


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Old Apr 18, 2022, 5:06 am
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What make/model? My most recent rental (Alfa Romeo) did not have this.
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Old Apr 18, 2022, 7:13 am
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They can do this on GM and Ford vehicles via telematics (can read odometer as well). That's why I actively try to avoid them now as I have absolutely no idea what "Full" means anymore.
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Old Apr 18, 2022, 7:35 am
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Originally Posted by Tedgrrrr
I’ve never seen this and I drove 20 miles after filling up and fuel gauge still showed “full”… so probably right but how would National know?


i’ve always been under the impression the maximum you could drive between fueling up and returning the vehicle “full “was 3 miles. Rare occasions, I’ve had the check-in agent ask for the fuel receipt.

In the original poster’s case, 20 miles seems excessive.

it is widely known that newer vehicles can communicate precise fuel level to the check-in agent’s hand held device via Bluetooth.
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Old Apr 18, 2022, 1:02 pm
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I have seen this on multiple vehicles, including Jeep and Toyotas, however I have never seen it in use, yet.

Like on the receipt it would say 10.5 g instead of 7/8, but the return fuel shows either nothing or the same as the pickup fuel, which makes me to believe they don't actually use it
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Old Apr 18, 2022, 1:36 pm
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Originally Posted by aww3583
i’ve always been under the impression the maximum you could drive between fueling up and returning the vehicle “full “was 3 miles. Rare occasions, I’ve had the check-in agent ask for the fuel receipt.

In the original poster’s case, 20 miles seems excessive.
Where did you get 3 miles? I have heard 10 miles.but 3 seems excessive. Are you required to fill up at the airport gas station?
I have seen prepajd rates getting more reasonable but the problem is you have to pay for an entire tank. Maybe with this new technology they can just let you buy some number of gallons
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Old Apr 18, 2022, 3:45 pm
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Originally Posted by s0ssos
Where did you get 3 miles?
Cranky return attendant once. It helps to take a photo of the IP before driving off when picking up the vehicle. Both for mileage and fuel considerations.

Below is the language from National's program rules:

The fuel charge at the rate shown on the Rental Contract Summary. If the fuel charge is based on consumption and Vehicle is returned with less fuel than when rented, the charge shall be for the Owner’s estimated difference in fuel level. The difference in fuel level will be calculated based on the difference shown on the fuel gauge (rounded to the nearest 1/8th) between rental date and return date or as determined by Vehicle’s telematic system. If Renter purchases the Fuel Service Option, then Renter’s fuel charge shall be the per gallon charge multiplied by the fuel tank capacity of Vehicle rented. Renter shall not receive a refund or credit if Vehicle is returned with more fuel than when Renter received it or for any unused fuel. The fuel charge is not a retail sale of fuel.
Every mention of "fuel level upon return" in the 200-page Emerald Club T&Cs refers back to the "fuel level when rented". Take those photos, folks.
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Old Apr 18, 2022, 6:12 pm
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Originally Posted by aww3583
Cranky return attendant once. It helps to take a photo of the IP before driving off when picking up the vehicle. Both for mileage and fuel considerations.

Below is the language from National's program rules:



Every mention of "fuel level upon return" in the 200-page Emerald Club T&Cs refers back to the "fuel level when rented". Take those photos, folks.
I do take a photo later, when discovering the tank is not full after having left. I also call. I wonder if the photo has any weight by itself, if they were never notified. Too easy to fake?

Per National "The fuel charge is not a retail sale of fuel."
What exactly do they mean? I can dispute this charge?
Motor Veh Fuel Sales Tax (4.38%)
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Old Apr 19, 2022, 4:54 pm
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Interesting, in aww8353's post above it still says: (rounded to the nearest 1/8th)

So technically, if you return it at 10.4g out of 10.7g, rounded to the nearest 1/8th it's still 8/8 so should not incur any fuel charge by National's own legalese.
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Old Apr 24, 2022, 6:06 am
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Sorry for vanishing - it was a 2022 Ford Edge - not a fan of Edge’s in general because I swear they use more fuel than any other car/suv.

I was not charged for fuel but just surprised the receipt was so precise and very likely correct.
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Old Apr 26, 2022, 6:38 am
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Originally Posted by s0ssos
I do take a photo later, when discovering the tank is not full after having left. I also call. I wonder if the photo has any weight by itself, if they were never notified. Too easy to fake?

Per National "The fuel charge is not a retail sale of fuel."
What exactly do they mean? I can dispute this charge?
Motor Veh Fuel Sales Tax (4.38%)
It's probably to cover their rear ends because the internal fuel tank sensor reading that they're using is not a measuring device that's certified legal for trade by the local weights and measures authority.
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Old Apr 26, 2022, 6:59 am
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I have never had a problem with returning a tank "not full" - with the fuel gauge showing full.
I have driven a lot more than 20 miles after fillup on occasion.
I have received a vehicle, many times, with a tank that was nowhere remotely close to full.
With the above noted:
1) Some cars are far more/less accurate in their fuel gauges than others. The Nissan Altima is the most forgiving - you can drive 50 miles after fillup and it still shows full. Conversely, I have rented several transit vans recently from Hertz - and their fuel gauges drop pretty much on departing the Hertz lot/gas station unless I literally fill to the point where gas is slopping out of the (adjacent to driver) fueling point.
2) The "not full" fuel when departing: if the gauge shows anything not full, take a pic. Even if you've left, the fact that the odometer shows you have driven a handful of miles is such that you will have the record updated - at least I have on many occasions. On the other hand, with the Altima note above, I have clearly been victimized by a very not full (but gauge full) tank in the past. I know this because I rent the Altimas for long distance drives (600 miles one way). I can make the one way without filling up normally; a not full tank means I have to refuel. I am never upset by this as I much prefer having the gauge used - with its up and down sides - vs. the possibility of telematics use.
3) I have never had any experiences with a rental company using vehicle telematics to determine "full". I have used National maybe once in 20 years; I use Hertz the most followed by Dollar and Enterprise, and now starting with Avis since Hertz seems to have dropped Mileage Plus mile credit.

Generic note: Gasbuddy is your friend. Normally it is for the most cheapskate people (i.e. me) but finding the closest alternative to airport fueling prices is not necessarily cheapskate, particularly with large fuel capacity vehicles and long drives. The transit vans, for example, get under 15 miles to the gallon. A 400 mile round trip with ~420 actual miles - I put in well over 30 gallons. Or put another way: the gas refueling cost was more than the 4 day rental cost of the vehicle! And that was with "cheapest in city" pricing.
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Old Apr 26, 2022, 9:10 am
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I once had a problem with an intransigent manager at Hertz in London who insisted that I hadnt filled up and who wanted to charge me for a gallon or so after I had just filled up a half mile down the street! I wondered how he knew.

He insisted on showing me that he could cram in more fuel and showed me his doing it, - when I knew I had just filled up! He pressed the hand lever on the pump and the fuel almost immediately started flowing all over the floor! ""There", he , "I told you it wasn't full!"

Hertz wouldnt believe that he was wrong on this: UNTIL I later produced the garage receipt, timed five minutes before the time of return!
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Old Apr 26, 2022, 9:45 am
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Old Apr 26, 2022, 2:47 pm
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Originally Posted by c1ue
1) Some cars are far more/less accurate in their fuel gauges than others. The Nissan Altima is the most forgiving - you can drive 50 miles after fillup and it still shows full.
Camry beats that, 90 miles
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