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Fair fuel policy

Only pay for the fuel you use

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One-way and young driver surcharges included

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We compare a huge range of one-way and return car hire deals from over 20 leading rental companies

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From excess insurance to which car type to choose, there’s a lot to consider when hiring a car for your holiday. Your fuel policy is important to pay attention to when comparing deals, as the wrong one can see you paying over the odds.

Here, we take you through the fair fuel policy, and put it head-to-head with the rest, so you can choose the right policy for your trip.

TravelSupermarket’s commitment to fair fuel policies

TravelSupermarket allows you to compare car hire prices on hundreds of vehicles from more than 20 leading rental companies. All of the deals found on our site come with a fair fuel policy on rentals (also known as full-to-full or same-to-same) so you can book your hire car safe in the knowledge there will be no nasty surprises at drop-off.

What is a fair fuel policy?

A fair fuel policy requires you to return your hire car with the same amount of fuel you picked it up with. It’s often called a full-to-full policy as the car comes with a full tank of fuel on pick-up and you must fill it back up to the top before you drop it off.

Same-to-same fuel policies are also considered fair. You’re not guaranteed a full tank on pick-up, but you only have to top the fuel back up to the same level as when you received the car. If this is your chosen policy, make sure the fuel levels are correctly marked on your agreement for a fuss-free drop off.

What is a full-to-empty fuel policy?

Widely regarded as the least value for money, a full-to-empty policy does what it says on the tin: you get full tank of fuel on pick-up and can return the car ‘empty’. Sometimes known as a pre-purchased policy, the full tank is added to your hire costs, often at an inflated price set by the rental company, and you will not be refunded for any unused petrol.

If you are planning on doing a lot of driving and think you won’t have time to top up the tank before you return your car, this could be the option for you. Otherwise, it is generally recommended to avoid fuel policies of this type.

We do not compare deals with full-to-empty policies on TravelSupermarket.

Do you get refunds on full-to-empty policies?

Some pre-purchased fuel policies include refunds for any unused fuel. Keep in mind that some companies will pay back the whole amount for unused fuel, but others will deduct a service charge from your refund. Make sure to read the terms and conditions carefully.

What is a free tank fuel policy?

Free tank fuel policies are rare and are often part of a special deal. However, they can be exceptionally good value and a fantastic time saver. You’ll get a full tank of fuel on pick-up and won’t need to top it up before you drop off your rental – and no money will be deducted for the convenience. Win, win!

Which fuel policy is best for me?

For many holidaymakers, the fair fuel policy (full-to-full or same-to-same) is the best option. You’re in control of where to top up the tank – consider a petrol station with local prices instead of chancing inflated rental company fees – and won’t be out of pocket when you drop off the vehicle.

However, if you’re willing to pay for flexibility and convenience, pre-purchased fuel policies can be excellent time savers, especially if you need a smooth run back to the airport.

As with any travel purchase, it pays to weigh up your options and read the terms and conditions carefully before handing over your card.

Fuel policies explained

Fuel policy

What do you get?

Is it right for me?

Full-to-full (fair fuel policy)

A full tank of fuel on pick-up. The car must be returned with a full tank to avoid any fees.

This option can help keep costs down as you can choose where to buy your fuel and skip inflated prices at airport petrol stations or those set by car hire companies.

Just consider whether you’ll have time to top up the tank before dropping off your car.

Same-to-same (fair fuel policy)

A tank with some fuel, but not necessarily full, that you will be expected to match to avoid fees on return. For example, if you’re given a half-full tank on pick-up, it must be at least half-full on drop-off.

As above, this option can help keep costs down as you can choose where to buy your fuel and skip inflated prices at airport petrol stations or those set by car hire companies.

Just consider whether you’ll have time to top up the tank before dropping off your car.

Full-to-empty

A full tank of fuel on pick-up paid for upfront. You can return the car with any amount of fuel left in the tank but will not be refunded for any unused fuel.

This option is costly if you don’t plan to drive a lot – you’ll be paying for a full tank of fuel whether you use it or not – but it can be convenient for longer trips, especially if you won’t have time to fill up the tank before you return the car.

Pre-purchased with a full refund

A full tank of fuel on pick-up paid for upfront. You can return the car with any amount of fuel left in the tank and will be refunded for any unused fuel.

This option gives you slightly more flexibility than the full-to-empty policy – you can use as you need and still get your money back on any petrol still in the tank. However, the pre-paid petrol price may be highly inflated compared to local station prices, so it may not be the most budget-friendly choice.

Pre-purchased with a partial refund

A full tank of fuel on pick-up paid for upfront. You can return the car with any amount of fuel left in the tank and will be refunded for any unused fuel, minus a service charge set by the car hire company.

As above, you’ll get more flexibility when it comes to returning your car and some money back on unused fuel, but it is not the most cost-effective option.

Free tank

A full tank of fuel on pick-up. You can return the car with any amount of fuel left in the tank and will not be charged any refuelling fees.

If you’re happy with the price of your car rental, then the free tank fuel policy is a great option.

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Fair fuel policy

A fair fuel policy (also known as full-to-full or same-to-same) means you’ll only pay for the fuel you use. All car rental deals compared on TravelSupermarket come with a fair fuel policy, so you can book your hire car safe in the knowledge there will be no nasty surprises at drop-off. More information on TravelSupermarket’s commitment to fair fuel policies can be found here.

No hidden fees

All rental deals compared on TravelSupermarket include mandatory fees (for example, one-way and young driver surcharges) in your rental quote at the time of booking, meaning you’ll know the full price of your car hire upfront.

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