Express Fuel Option: Hertz to Charge You if You Drive That Rental Car Fewer Than 75 Miles Without Refueling

s a member of the Hertz Gold Plus frequent renter loyalty program, I received an interesting e-mail message hours ago which announced a revision in the terms and conditions which applies to rentals in the United States and Canada called the Express Fuel Option.

If you are the type of person who manages to keep the appearance of the fuel gauge as full despite having driven dozens of miles in the rental car without spending any money to fill up the fuel tank, your glory days are essentially over as of Wednesday, July 15, 2015:

Beginning on 7/15/2015 there will be a new refueling option for Hertz rentals in the United States. This Express Fuel option applies at select locations to rentals during which the entire distance driven is 75 miles or less. If you drive 75 miles or less and do not purchase gas, or purchase gas but fail to produce a receipt, a charge of $13.99 will be applied. If you drive 75 miles or less and produce a receipt of a fuel purchase made during your rental, the $13.99 charge will not be applied.

Assuming that the car your rented achieved 25 miles per gallon during your rental and you drove 75 miles — meaning that your rental car consumed three gallons of fuel — that means that at $13.99, Hertz will charge you the equivalent of approximately $4.66 per gallon; but if the car your rented achieved 18.75 miles per gallon during your rental and you drove 75 miles — meaning that your rental car consumed four gallons of fuel — that means that at $13.99, Hertz will charge you the equivalent of approximately $3.50 per gallon.

Either way — at a current national average of $2.78 per gallon for regular gasoline, according to the Daily Fuel Gauge Report of the American Automobile Association — Hertz will be profiting from the new Express Fuel Option…

…but then again, who knows how much money Hertz — or customers of Hertz — lost in being short-changed on fuel.

I know that when I rent a car, I expect the fuel tank to be full. When I rented a car recently from a different rental car company, the indicator of the fuel gauge was clearly just shy of full. A representative of the rental car company assured me not to worry about it; but when I returned the car with the fuel gauge exactly just shy of full — that was no easy task, by the way — a different representative attempted to point that fact out to me. I prevailed in that exchange, thankfully.

If you plan on renting a car from Hertz in the future, you should know about the Express Fuel Option just in case you anticipate any problems or issues.

The complete text of the revision is shown below.

Photograph ©2007 by Brian Cohen.


 

NOTICE

2015 Revision to the Hertz Gold Rental Terms

Effective July 15, 2015, Part II. B. – Terms And Conditions Applicable To Rentals In The United States And Canada of the “Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Rental Terms” are revised in accordance with this notice. Pursuant to the “Online Terms” You accepted when You enrolled in the “Program” (as such terms are defined below), Your making a Program rental after the effective date will constitute Your acceptance of this revision.

  1. All capitalized terms not otherwise defined herein shall have the meaning given to them in the terms and conditions which govern (a) enrollment in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, sometimes referred to as the “Program” (the “Enrollment Agreement Terms”) and (b) rentals of vehicles using the Program (the “Gold Plus Rewards Rental Terms”), by persons who enrolled in the Program online (the “Online Terms”).
  1. Subparagraph 8 of “Part II. B. Terms And Conditions Applicable To Rentals In The United States And Canada” in the Gold Plus Rewards Rental Terms is hereby deleted in its entirety and replaced with the following:

8.  REFUELING OPTIONS

A.  FOR RENTALS IN THE UNITED STATES.  Most Hertz rentals come with a full tank of gas, but that is not always the case. The refueling options are:

1.  IF YOU DO NOT PURCHASE FUEL FROM HERTZ AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR RENTAL AND YOU RETURN THE CAR WITH AT LEAST AS MUCH FUEL AS WAS IN IT WHEN YOU RECEIVED IT, You will not pay a charge for fuel.

a.  For rentals from select locations: IF YOU DRIVE 75 MILES OR LESS, as determined by subtracting the Car’s odometer reading at the beginning of the rental from the reading when the Car is returned, excluding tenths of miles, YOU MUST PRODUCE A RECEIPT AT THE TIME OF RETURN INDICATING THAT FUEL WAS PURCHASED SO THAT THE CAR IS RETURNED WITH AT LEAST AS MUCH FUEL AS WAS IN IT WHEN YOU RECEIVED IT. If You drive 75 miles or less and You do not produce such a receipt at the time of return, You will be charged the ≤75 mile Fuel and Service Charge at the rate specified on the Rental Record, to the extent permitted by law.

2.  IF YOU DO NOT PURCHASE FUEL FROM HERTZ AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR RENTAL AND YOU RETURN THE CAR WITH LESS FUEL THAN WAS IN IT WHEN YOU RECEIVED IT, Hertz will charge You a Fuel and Service Charge at the applicable per-mile/kilometer or per-gallon rate specified on the Rental Record.  However, for rentals from select locations, if You drive the car 75 miles or less You will be charged the ≤75 mile Fuel and Service Charge at the rate specified on the Rental Record, to the extent permitted by law.

a. The per-mile/kilometer rate is used if You do not buy fuel during the rental. To calculate this amount, Hertz multiplies the number of miles driven as shown on the car’s odometer, times the per-mile/kilometer rate shown on the Rental Record.

b. The per-gallon rate is used if You buy fuel during the rental but the tank is not as full when You return the Car as when You received it. To calculate this amount Hertz multiplies the number of gallons needed to refill the fuel tank to the level it was at when You received the Car, times the per-gallon rate.

ALTHOUGH TWO METHODS ARE USED FOR EASE OF CALCULATION, THE PER-MILE/KILOMETER AND PER-GALLON RATES PRODUCE APPROXIMATELY THE SAME RESULT.

3.  IF YOU CHOOSE TO PURCHASE FUEL FROM HERTZ AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR RENTAL BY SELECTING THE FUEL PURCHASE OPTION, You will be charged as shown on the Rental Record for that purchase. IF YOU CHOOSE THIS OPTION, YOU WILL NOT INCUR AN ADDITIONAL FUEL AND SERVICE CHARGE, BUT YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE ANY CREDIT FOR FUEL LEFT IN THE TANK AT THE TIME OF RETURN, except in the following cases:

a.  For rentals in Hawaii, if You return the Car with a full tank of fuel, You will receive a credit for the amount previously charged for the purchase of fuel from Hertz.

b. If You drive the Car 75 miles or less from select locations, You will receive credit for the amount previously charged for the purchase of fuel from Hertz and will be charged the ≤75 mile Fuel and Service Charge at the rate specified on the Rental Record, to the extent permitted by law.

EXCEPT FOR RENTALS AS TO WHICH CLAUSE (a) OR (b) OF SUBPARAGRAPH 8.(A)(3) BECOMES APPLICABLE, THE PER-GALLON COST OF THE FUEL PURCHASE OPTION WILL ALWAYS BE LOWER THAN FUEL AND SERVICE CHARGE, BUT IF YOU ELECT THE FUEL PURCHASE OPTION YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE CREDIT FOR FUEL LEFT IN THE TANK AT THE TIME OF RETURN. THE COST OF REFUELING THE CAR YOURSELF AT THE LOCAL SERVICE STATION WILL GENERALLY BE LOWER THAN THE FUEL AND SERVICE CHARGE OR THE FUEL PURCHASE OPTION. HOWEVER, THE FUEL AND SERVICE CHARGE AND THE FUEL PURCHASE OPTION ALLOW FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF NOT HAVING TO STOP AND REFUEL THE CAR PRIOR TO RETURN.

B.  FOR RENTALS IN CANADA.  Most Hertz rentals come with a full tank of gas, but that is not always the case. There are three refueling options:

1.  IF YOU DO NOT PURCHASE FUEL FROM HERTZ AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR RENTAL AND YOU RETURN THE CAR WITH AT LEAST AS MUCH FUEL AS WAS IN IT WHEN YOU RECEIVED IT, You will not pay a charge for fuel.

2.  IF YOU DO NOT PURCHASE FUEL FROM HERTZ AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR RENTAL AND YOU RETURN THE CAR WITH LESS FUEL THAN WAS IN IT WHEN YOU RECEIVED IT, Hertz will charge You a Fuel and Service Charge at the applicable per-mile/kilometer or per-gallon rate specified on the Rental Record.

a. The per-mile/kilometer rate is used if You do not buy fuel during the rental. To calculate this amount, Hertz multiplies the number of miles driven as shown on the car’s odometer, times the per-mile/kilometer rate shown on the Rental Record.

b. The per-gallon rate is used if You buy fuel during the rental but the tank is not as full when You return the Car as when You received it. To calculate this amount Hertz multiplies the number of gallons needed to refill the fuel tank to the level it was at when You received the Car, times the per-gallon rate.

ALTHOUGH TWO METHODS ARE USED FOR EASE OF CALCULATION, THE PER-MILE/KILOMETER AND PER-GALLON RATES PRODUCE APPROXIMATELY THE SAME RESULT.

3.  IF YOU CHOOSE TO PURCHASE FUEL FROM HERTZ AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR RENTAL BY SELECTING THE FUEL PURCHASE OPTION, You will be charged as shown on the Rental Record for that purchase. IF YOU CHOOSE THIS OPTION, YOU WILL NOT INCUR AN ADDITIONAL FUEL AND SERVICE CHARGE, BUT YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE ANY CREDIT FOR FUEL LEFT IN THE TANK AT THE TIME OF RETURN, except if You drive the Car 100 miles or less and return it with less than a full tank of fuel, You will receive credit for the amount previously charged for the purchase of fuel from Hertz and will be charged for the fuel used at the per-mile/kilometer rate shown on the Rental Record, but only if this will reduce the amount You pay for fuel.

EXCEPT FOR RENTALS AS TO WHICH SUBPARAGRAPH 8.(B)(3) BECOMES APPLICABLE, THE PER-GALLON COST OF THE FUEL PURCHASE OPTION WILL ALWAYS BE LOWER THAN FUEL AND SERVICE CHARGE, BUT IF YOU ELECT THE FUEL PURCHASE OPTION YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE CREDIT FOR FUEL LEFT IN THE TANK AT THE TIME OF RETURN. THE COST OF REFUELING THE CAR YOURSELF AT THE LOCAL SERVICE STATION WILL GENERALLY BE LOWER THAN THE FUEL AND SERVICE CHARGE OR THE FUEL PURCHASE OPTION. HOWEVER, THE FUEL AND SERVICE CHARGE AND THE FUEL PURCHASE OPTION ALLOW FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF NOT HAVING TO STOP AND REFUEL THE CAR PRIOR TO RETURN.

  1. Except as revised by this notice, all the remaining terms and conditions of the Online Terms shall remain unchanged and in full force and effect.

8 thoughts on “Express Fuel Option: Hertz to Charge You if You Drive That Rental Car Fewer Than 75 Miles Without Refueling”

  1. Ash says:

    AVIS car rental already provides that convenient option called EZFUEL. Same criteria, same charge.
    It’s actually a good option to have for the rentals when miles driven are <75 and perhaps one is rushing to the airport.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      If you are willing to pay more for the convenience, then I agree, Ash.

  2. Ben says:

    Good luck getting Hertz to do anything with that $13.99 other than pocket it at locations where they don’t refuel on-site, especially when the fuel gauge reads anything closeto full

  3. Rick says:

    Avis has been doing this for a couple of years. While the cost per gallon is higher than the typical pump price, it is quite convenient when running late for your flight. Plus, it works to your benefit when the renter before you “skated” the system and left the barely on Full and quickly drops a few ticks ascsoon as you leave the renatl lot.

    That said, I miss the Buick Century of the early 2000’s since it stayed on Full for about 100 miles.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      It is strange how the fuel gauges on some cars seem to stay at the Full indicator longer than in other cars, Rick.

      Regardless, I do agree that this should curtail the phenomenon of renting cars whose fuel tanks indicate that they are full but are deceivingly not full thanks to the previous renter…

  4. Tom says:

    Driving 75 miles and not filling up is kind of a d *** move. The next customer will get stuck paying for your fuel. I think 10ish miles is fine, but beyond that you are cheating someone else (and it is not Hertz).

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I completely agree, Tom.

  5. Mick says:

    I’ve done it, it’s completely doable especially in blueline Eco cars, not over revving car and keeping in the top gears as much as possible and not blinking past 50 or 60 miles an hour( only for short bursts), I managed to keep the needle above or on the line for many short trips in UK and Europe. Wouldn’t surprise me if hertz introduce this worldwide. Their definitely not profiting from it as the market is simply too competitive to screw around. On top of this hertz have to hedge against the cost of increasing petrol/ gas prices and the cost of a member of their staff physically filling the car. Don’t doom & gloom, hertz is a great company with a great business model, they have always looked after my wife and myself always working hard to resolve issues no matter how tiny.

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