Fuel policies when renting a car in Lisbon – always check ‘rate details’
Fuel policy is part of the terms & conditions of every car hire company. Please see more about fuel policy under ‘rate details’ when acquiring a car hire offer on the Cartrawler search engine.
The terms & conditions for fuel policy may vary within the same car hire company depending on the country of destination. Basically the fuel policy is used to regulate how you pay for fuel in your rental car.
Spain leads the way for additional profit to rental companies
As from 2010-2011, some Portuguese car hire companies, have been learning from their colleagues in Spain.
When renting a car in say Malaga, Alicante or in Las Palmas, you are likely at many car hire companies; especially at local Spanish ones, to be presented with a bill for fuel on top of the bill for the hire car.
To a large extent, the car hire companies see this as a way to make extra profit by collecting the value of unused fuel from their customers. Unfortunately, ethically sound car hire companies in Lisbon Airport may be forced down the same road because of intense price competition.
In Portugal this ‘Spanish practise’ was non-existent until recently.
Pick up full – return full
If you read carefully the contract or even better the ‘rate details’ before booking your hire car online, you will notice that your rental car comes with a full tank of fuel.
When the hire car is supplied with fuel included in the basic rental fee, the customer needs to refill before handing the car back at the end of the rental. Fortunately, this is still the most common practice to pay for fuel for your rental car in Portugal.
In case you do not refill your hire car with fuel, you will be presented with a bill, which is likely to be paid by way of deducting an amount for fuel plus an additional filling fee from your deposit.
Most car hire companies will refer to this pretty much standard practise as ‘Pick up full – Return full’ or ‘Collect full – return full‘.
Example of ‘Pick up full – return full’
Pick up full – return empty
With some car rental companies in Lisbon Airport, the fuel policy is rather different.
In addition to the price of renting the car; you may in fact be asked to pay for a full tank of fuel up front when signing the contract at the counter and receiving the key for the car. This fuel policy is referred to as ‘Pick up full – return empty’.
At the time of return of the rental vehicle, with this fuel policy, you are asked to return the hire car in Lisbon Airport with as little fuel as possible.
More importantly: there will be no refund of unused fuel when renting a car with fuel policy ‘Pick up full – return empty’.
Obviously it is quite important to know which fuel policy is in force. This information you will find under ‘rate details’ in the Cartrawler search engine.
Example of ‘Pick up full – return empty’
The ‘Pick up full – return empty’ fuel policy is still the exception to the rule when hiring a car in Lisbon Airport.
Can you spend the fuel paid for?
It may be of importance to some, how much fuel the tank in the rental car contains, when renting a car with fuel policy ‘Pick up full – return empty’.
If say you hire an ‘oversize’ type of small vehicle e.g. Peugeot Partner, Citroen Berlingo or Renault Kangoo, the vehicle will usually have a fuel tank capacity of some 60-65 litres.
Those vehicles are spacious and popular with families and can often be rented in Lisbon Airport at relatively modest rates – sometimes at the same rates as a supermini class Ford Fiesta hire car or similar.
In case the rental has ‘Pick up full – return empty’ fuel policy, it is worth noting the additional bill for the fuel at some 80-95 euros for the ‘oversize’ class of vehicle – especially if you do not plan to use the vehicle much.
In this case it may be unlikely that you will be able to spend all the fuel, and the total price of the rental may turn out to be more expensive than expected.
Most small or medium sized vehicles, however, will have a fuel capacity between 45 and 55 litres.
The very smallest hire cars in the city car class of hire cars (Toyota Aygo, Citroen C1, Peugeot 107, Huyndai i10, Ford Ka, Chevrolet Spark or similar) often have a fuel capacity of some 35 litres.
Under the menu point Car Guide we have listed a number of the most common vehicles for rent in Lisbon Airport and the rest of Portugal. In the facts box for each vehicle you will find the fuel capacity for this type of rental car in Lisbon.