5 Reasons Why Prepaying for Gas is Never a Good Deal

So you arrive at the rental counter to pick up your car and the agent behind the counter explains how you can save both time and money by prepaying for a tank of gas. It sounds pretty attractive because they show you the average price per gallon of gas in the local area. Basically they give you a low rate per gallon and 1. Have to return the car completely empty to get full value 2. Trust that the stated capacity of the gas tank is correct. Does the RAC use an average size per class? 3. Taxes (esp airport) can be north of 20% not to mention the APCONFEE of 11.11% are assessed on the cost of the gas, so even if they give you a lower rate than average, you are going to be hit with potential taxes of over 30% on the gas when in actuality the "discounted" price they are basing it on already includes tax. Bottom line you are double or triple paying the tax on the gas At first blush, this seems like a pretty good option. The rental car companies typically offer an attractive discount per gallon for pre-purchasing gas through them. You could be attracted to this "too good to refuse" offer, but wait a moment: When have car rental companies ever done anything that does not involve them making a profit? The catch here is that you basically have to return the car sucking fumes in order to recoup your investment in that great deal you got on the tank of gas. The rental company will not refund you for any unused gas in the tank. Plus, unless you know the fuel capacity of the gas tank in the model you are renting, you may - oh heck, let's face it, you are -- overpaying for the amount of gas actually in the car. We've yet to see a prepaid fuel charge on our final statement that comes anywhere close to the amount it actually cost us to fill up the tank at any point during the rental period. Additionally, don't let them sweet talk you into paying the fee with promises of lower prices than at any nearby gas stations. That can be true when they're referring strictly to airport-adjacent options (see Option #1), but not necessarily just beyond the airport. A good rule of thumb is to check gas prices in your destination before leaving home, easily done on a site like Gasbuddy.com. The bottom line here is that while it's more convenient to prepay for a tank of gas, despite what they will tell you at the rental counter, the convenience comes at a very high price. It's difficult to get the full value of the prepaid tank unless you can time it so that you bring the car back almost empty. Plus, many people are shocked when they see the final rental bill
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A Quick Primer on Car Rental Insurance

You've probably been there before. You're standing at the car rental counter, and the agent is trying to terrify you into purchasing an insurance package that totals more than the rental itself. After all, they're not getting rich off that super $10 a day deal that you snagged through AutoSlash!

Before you dismiss the pitch with a wave though, and initial eight times in the 'DECLINE' section of rental agreement, there are some things you probably should consider to ensure sure you're adequately protected in the event of an accident. Here's a quick guide to covering your bases when renting in the US (policies outside the US vary greatly).

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Beware of Local Resident Restrictions at Airport Locations

Caution Tape

If you're looking for a car in your own backyard--maybe to drive while your car is getting fixed or something bigger with extra room for houseguests--it often pays to check rates at your local airport, too. Sometimes airport rentals can actually be cheaper than in-town rentals, and airport rental office hours are usually much more flexible than those at your neighborhood branch.

But if you live near an airport that you're renting from--typically within 100 miles or within the same state--make sure you keep reading. It turns out that a number of companies have some extra restrictions for locals renting at airport locations if they're not arriving by plane. Unfortunately, these terms and conditions are often buried in fine print that most people don't read, so in the spirit of full disclosure and making sure you don't have an unwelcome surprise at the rental counter, let's take a look at each company's policies individually:

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Atlanta Airport Car Rental Guide (ATL)


City of Atlanta

The Atlanta Airport Consolidated Rental Car Center is located at 2200 Rental Car Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30337.

Arriving passengers should pick up their checked luggage at the north or south baggage claim area and follow the overhead signs and hallway placards to the rental car center. Proceed out of the west end of the terminal under the covered walkway. Take the escalator up to the station and board the ATL SkyTrain for the five-minute ride to the rental car center. The wait time between trains during peak times is about three minutes.

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Is Prepaying for your Car Rental Worthwhile?

Car Rental Prepayment Shopping for a rental online can often be a confusing process. Everyone wants a cheap car rental, but one of the choices consumers often face is whether to make a standard reservation where you simply provide your contact information and pay at the rental counter or a prepaid rental in which you pay in full at the time the reservation is made. Is prepayment worthwhile for the average rental? Can you get a better deal this way? Let's take a look at the various options to find out.

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