Your lovely rental car has been a faithful part of your team all vacation, but when it is time to say goodbye, your ever trusty steed may deliver a final kick that you didn’t expect!
Depending how you agreed to cover fuel costs at the rental pick up desk at the start of your vacation, you may need to return the car full of fuel.

If you’ve pre-paid your gas, you probably want to return the car as empty as possible!
There are two main fuel options for hire cars, and it pays to know which one will work best for you!
Cost wise, the difference can be as much as $100 if you don’t use the right method to suit your needs.

Option 1 Return the Car Filled

For most rental car agreements, this is often the default, but always check before you leave the rental desk.
Basically, they give you a car full of fuel and they expect one back in return.
  • Gives you freedom to fill up at the lowest cost gas stations
  • You are not tied to the rental car company gas rates
  • You need to fill up just before you reach the airport
  • You may feel pressured on the return day if you are late
  • If you turn up part full, you may get charged a fuel penalty plus the fuel
  • You are at the mercy of some $6/gal pump prices near Orlando International Airport!
  • Read this article about excessive fuel price charges near the airport.

Option 2 Prepaid Fuel Option

Many Orlando visitors, go for this through convenience, especially if the rental company offers a price that’s within a few cents of the local gas prices.

If you get a fair gas/gallon price from them, and you can return the car reasonably close to empty, this is a very convenient way to pay for fuel.
People worry about leaving fuel in the vehicle when they return it as they are literally  ‘giving money away’.  In reality, a 1/4 tank in a large car costs about $20 and puts the risk into perspective for you to choose if this is the right option for you.
  • You buy the full tank of gas at the start
  • You are told the fuel rates at the desk
    Make sure they match the local pump prices
    Gasbuddy.com is a good reference to help you decide
  • You can return the car with as much or little fuel as you wish
  • If you leave too much in you usually lose that fuel
    (Some do offer a credit but not often)
  • Prepaid fuel is very convenient and offers least surprises
  • Some people run out of gas on the way to the airport trying to return the tank empty!
  • Some people return their car quite full, leaving them heavily out of pocket if the company does not inspect the fuel levels and offer credits.
  • Leaving 1/8 of fuel in a regular car’s tank will cost you about $10
  • TOP TIP Fill up near your resort and drive carefully to the airport, and it will still show FULL
Read our blog post about the high gas prices near Orlando International Airport or check out the regional high/low prices of gas high cost of gas prices near the Airport.