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Renters who don't fill up on gas quite all the way to F...

Renters who don't fill up on gas quite all the way to F...

Old Dec 20, 17, 11:26 am
  #1  
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Renters who don't fill up on gas quite all the way to F...

I'm sure you've experienced this but just wanted to see how common it is here.

I've had 2 rentals in the last month where I could tell the last person try to get by with as little gas as possible so that the needle looks like it's right at F.

With most cars these days, if you actually fill up full (ie, let the gas pump auto shut off) the needle usually will be a tad bit over past the F mark, unless it's a digital gauge.

Had a Wrangler that had the needle just barely hitting F (depending on the angle, it looked like it was already to F) and as I drove only about 15min you can tell the needle gauge started dropping fast....meaning it definitely was not filled up all the way as usually it takes a while for the gas needle to start dropping.

Had a 430i convertible where it was quite clear the needle was just a tad below F....again clearly people trying to save...what $2-3 at the pump?

/end rant
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Old Dec 20, 17, 11:28 am
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Maybe they are just stopping when they hit a round number to save messing about with change when it comes to payment?
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Old Dec 20, 17, 12:54 pm
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Or maybe it was employees using the cars (outside of a contract) and then stopping to drive it as soon as they saw the needle moving.
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Old Dec 20, 17, 1:00 pm
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Originally Posted by FN-GM View Post
Maybe they are just stopping when they hit a round number to save messing about with change when it comes to payment?
POtentially. Though the vast majority here in the US use credit cards for gas.

Originally Posted by IAHtraveler View Post
Or maybe it was employees using the cars (outside of a contract) and then stopping to drive it as soon as they saw the needle moving.
Sounds like a nice way to find yourself out of a job. (of course I'll defer to those who have managerial experience with rental car companies....as I don't reasonably see how employees can take the car for other uses other than within their job description)

I presume most rental locations have the parking/storage area close enough to the cleaning area/customer lots that it won't have any negligible gas use if driven withing normal employee duties/distances. Not sure how an employee can take it for a joy ride to cause significant change in gasoline levels.

At the HNL location (the 430), the return lot is right next to the cleaning stations which is right next to the parking garage that houses the cars/customer lots. At the ITO location (the Wrangler), it's such a small airport that the SAME parking lot is used for storage/customer pickup and customer return.
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Old Dec 20, 17, 2:50 pm
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I've spoken to a few shift managers (not just Avis) who said they're allowed to take a car home. Not sure if that's an official perk or a regional manager allowing it. Or they could be sitting in it to keep warm in it (seen this a lot by return agents in cold weather during slower periods). Or moving employees for off-site cleanings/etc. Usually done with a mini/passenger van but not always.
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Old Dec 20, 17, 2:51 pm
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Originally Posted by IAHtraveler View Post
I've spoken to a few shift managers (not just Avis) who said they're allowed to take a car home. Not sure if that's an official perk or a regional manager allowing it. Or they could be sitting in it to keep warm in it (seen this a lot by return agents in cold weather during slower periods). Or moving employees for off-site cleanings/etc. Usually done with a mini/passenger van but not always.
Interesting. Could be a manager taking the car home I suppose. I've definitely seen cars idling (with radio/music going on) as it's waiting to be prepped/cleaned. And I can definitely understand in colder areas that employees need to keep warm in the frigid cold.
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Old Dec 20, 17, 3:20 pm
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Doesn't really matter.

As part of prepping a car for a new rental, it ought to be topped up. Whether that is because the last renter did not fill the tank or only partially filled it is irrelevant. Before the car goes back out, someone fills the tank.
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Old Dec 21, 17, 7:08 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Doesn't really matter.

As part of prepping a car for a new rental, it ought to be topped up. Whether that is because the last renter did not fill the tank or only partially filled it is irrelevant. Before the car goes back out, someone fills the tank.
I completely agree that this *should* be the policy, but the rental companies know they'd lose a ton if they did they. They're better off to ignore it and only fix it if someone complains about a specific rental. For example, I got in a huge SUV earlier this week. I got 10 miles off-site and realized the gas tank was at 7/8. I know it's a gas guzzler, but 10 miles or ~0.5 gallons of gas can't drop the gauge that much. And since I was already gone, it was too late to say/do anything.
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Old Dec 21, 17, 7:16 am
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Originally Posted by IAHtraveler View Post
I completely agree that this *should* be the policy, but the rental companies know they'd lose a ton if they did they. They're better off to ignore it and only fix it if someone complains about a specific rental. For example, I got in a huge SUV earlier this week. I got 10 miles off-site and realized the gas tank was at 7/8. I know it's a gas guzzler, but 10 miles or ~0.5 gallons of gas can't drop the gauge that much. And since I was already gone, it was too late to say/do anything.
First, this thread is a criticism of consumers who do not top off the tank to Full. My point is simply that ---- appropriate or not ---- that should not affect the next consumer.
Second, the rental company would be free to charge its local outrageous price + a fee which is far from a money-loser. Someone who returns a vehicle with 0.5 gallons to top off, would be charged the 0.5 gallons at whatever the rate is + a fee, often in the $10 range.

Finally, if you find that your vehicle was not full because it drops to 7/8 or 3/4 or whatever, in just a few miles, make a point of complaining at return or sending a note to the rental company. Many locations simply credit some amount on the spot and others will eventually get around to it.
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Old Dec 21, 17, 7:55 am
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The vast majority of cars I rent have average MPG displays in the dash. I reset those and the trip odometer when I start the rental. At the end, I do the quick math on how much fuel I used, and add that back, plus usually a dollar or so.
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Old Dec 22, 17, 5:17 am
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Originally Posted by ginmqi View Post
I'm sure you've experienced this but just wanted to see how common it is here.

I've had 2 rentals in the last month where I could tell the last person try to get by with as little gas as possible so that the needle looks like it's right at F.

With most cars these days, if you actually fill up full (ie, let the gas pump auto shut off) the needle usually will be a tad bit over past the F mark, unless it's a digital gauge.

Had a Wrangler that had the needle just barely hitting F (depending on the angle, it looked like it was already to F) and as I drove only about 15min you can tell the needle gauge started dropping fast....meaning it definitely was not filled up all the way as usually it takes a while for the gas needle to start dropping.

Had a 430i convertible where it was quite clear the needle was just a tad below F....again clearly people trying to save...what $2-3 at the pump?

/end rant
What are you on about?

Deal mainly with National or Enterprise and they require one to return vehicle with same amount of gas as when taken out. If you return with less then either you'll be charged or not (if signed up for refuel option).

In any event a vehicle that is to be returned on "Full" (F) means just that. For my purposes and one assumes a great many others this means just that; needle or whatever reading *FULL*. If it goes a bit beyond that so much the better, but that is *NOT* any sort of mandatory condition for return.

Yes, many times have taken out a vehicle and barely gotten two blocks before needle or whatever moved off "F". So what of it? I check the gauge before heading out to make sure it agrees with what is written/entered on the receipt. If when vehicle is turned on and the needle moves off "F", that is a different matter.

When returning vehicle to Manhattan, NYC for instance nearly always fill up in New Jersey or at least outside of the city. Gas is cheaper and more easily found (gas stations are closing at a rapid clip here, as properties are sold for redevelopment into luxury housing).

For most mid-size vehicles and a good number of SUVs can get from say South New Jersey into Manhattan, park, and next day take the thing back to National and the gas gauge still reads at "F" or maybe slightly over. It is not part of my rental agreement to provide National nor the next driver with *free gas* to drive off.

On an unrelated note have given up counting how many times National or Enterprise have given me vehicles with less than a full tank (Enterprise here is famous for giving out things that are often 1/3 or 1/4 full) with the implied request to bring it back full. Yes, they say "bring it back with same amount you left with". But also is added "we will credit you for the fuel if you bring it back with more...". It isn't easy to get a vehicle filled to just 1/8, 1/4, 7/8, etc... but if the rental place isn't going to credit me back my cost of gas, will do my best to bring it back as found.

On another unrelated topic National, Enterprise and the rest nearly always charge customers a refueling surcharge either for not bringing vehicle back with proper amount of gas, or customer paid for the refueling option. However it does *NOT* always follow the vehicle will be taken and topped up.

Asked both Enterprise and National managers/counter reps about this and their answer was clear; they don't always have the staff to drive a vehicle to local gas station, so they just send it back out "as is".

Aside from maybe some airport locations not every car rental office has access to a gas pump. Nor are many always located near where one can find gas either. Meanwhile they've charged one customer for a service that was not provided. Unless the next customer does refill and receives credit for excess gas, car rental place has made *free money*. Multiply this over an entire system and or calendar year and you've got some serious money.
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Old Dec 22, 17, 5:57 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Doesn't really matter.

As part of prepping a car for a new rental, it ought to be topped up. Whether that is because the last renter did not fill the tank or only partially filled it is irrelevant. Before the car goes back out, someone fills the tank.
All fine for locations that are larger and may have pumps on site, but most smaller/mid-sized locations and local rental places do not have onsite stations, so they would have to take each vehicle offsite, fill it up and then bring it back. Seriously, not worth the effort, expense or risk (every time an employee takes a vehicle off premise, they are adding risk to the company in terms of an accident).
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Old Dec 22, 17, 6:56 am
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Don't some agreements require that if you turned down all the fuel options that you return the car at the same fuel gauge reading but you have a receipt from a gas station in "X" miles of the rental location?
Then how can you fill up in NJ and return to NY?

Of course I've only been asked for a receipt once and that was for a one day rental of 6 miles (3am arrival and all cabs had left, pre-uber).
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Old Dec 22, 17, 7:13 am
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Great point. Let's assume I pick up a car with half a tank, and later need to refuel. But, the car is not due back for several days. I buy a full tank, expecting to use another half. Return time comes and my prediction was right. No need to visit the nearest gas station, and hence no receipt within 5 miles.
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Old Dec 22, 17, 3:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Brighton Line View Post
Don't some agreements require that if you turned down all the fuel options that you return the car at the same fuel gauge reading but you have a receipt from a gas station in "X" miles of the rental location?
Then how can you fill up in NJ and return to NY?

Of course I've only been asked for a receipt once and that was for a one day rental of 6 miles (3am arrival and all cabs had left, pre-uber).
That may be true for *some* master agreements, but not from National (where I do a majority of my rentals), nor even local Enterprise. Have heard that Hertz plays that kind of game, which is another reason tends to avoid.

National only cares that you bring vehicle back with same fuel as when it went out, or have taken the refueling option. This and or as some sort of courtesy the vehicle will be marked going out as "empty" or whatever and you don't have to worry.

In my years with National they have been through several owners and assorted fiscal worries. That tends to influence things on the ground IMHO. There was a time when they wouldn't give credit if you brought vehicle back with more gas than you took it out with, now at least in my experience they gladly will refund any excess. Since most of my rentals are from Manhattan or other urban locations one assumes they are glad of this because as noted above refueling is a hassle.
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