As you plan your road trip to the beach, the number one question that may come to mind is, “Which type of car do I want to rent?” After you weigh out the options between the tempting Camaro convertible and the sensible mid-sized sedan, keep in mind that there is just one other thing to consider: do you want to pay ahead for a full tank of gas?
You will find a number of different packages being offered at most rental car companies, including the option to pay for a full tank of gas. The reason for this is so that you don’t have to concern yourself with refilling upon return. Is this the best way to go? Many say “no.” But there are pros and cons to the company’s prepay plan. Let’s take a look:
USA TODAY’s study in 2011 shows that often times, it does pay to pay ahead. After taking a look at various rental car companies, it was found that many often charged less to fill up the tank ahead of time than the average fuel prices at nearby gas stations.
The same companies were also charging nearly $9 a gallon if the renter returned the vehicle without filling up or paying for the gas up front. Due to laziness or forgetfulness, a renter with a mid-sized car was paying more than $300!
On the other hand, many perceive the prepay option as a way to buy gas for the next person and not on the company’s tab. A good idea for the car companies to ensure a full tank, but not so great for the current travelers.
If anything else, prepaying might result in losing a few dollars but it leaves the renters with a peace of mind that they won’t be driving around aimlessly hunting for a gas station at the last moment – a little “fuel” for thought.
So ultimately, the decision is yours. Just remember to replace the fuel that you used if you opt to forego the prepay route. Happy traveling!