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Car Hire Insider - Full to Full vs Full to Empty Fuel Options

As part of our mission to provide the most honest and transparent car rental at Alicante airport, Drivalia were one of the first car hire companies to offer full to full car hire in Alicante and this has certainly become the most popular way for our clients to hire their car. But what are the options available and which is the most cost effective way to rent a car at Alicante or Mallorca airport?

There are two main fuel options when you hire a car in Spain - Full to Full and Full to Empty.  With full to full your car is supplied with a full tank and you simply return it with a full tank, this paying nothing to the car hire company for fuel as long as it is returned full.

With full to empty your car is supplied with a full tank which you pay for on collection of the car and then the fuel is yours so you simply return the car empty, or as empty as possible.  Time and time again customers ask us which is the best option and also why the fuel price at car hire companies tends to be mire expensive than at a mainstream petrol station.  So, lets explore those questions a little.

Full to full car hire is the most straightforward and transparent way to hire a car at Alicante or Palma airports. When you rent a car on the full to full fuel option you only end up paying for the fuel that you actually need and of course you buy it at a petrol station where the market price is charged.  If you book our Basic Plus or Drivalia Ultimate package the fuel option is always full to full as we believe that full to full is generally the most transparent way to hire a car and of course the fairest way for the customer.

There has been a lot of hype in the media about the full to empty fuel option and how it is unfair but we should look at this closely to see the benefits of this option because many people prefer this option and it certainly can be more convenient for some as you are not worrying about refilling the fuel tank before you return. Remember that you, as the consumer have a choice and when you book with Drivalia you get to choose the best option for your needs and budget.

Firstly we should understand that for a car hire company such as Drivalia to offer a full to empty option we have to own, operate and maintain fuel storage facilities and also of course pumps.  In addition to this we have to employ staff to actualy carry out the filling.  We of course do not use anywhere near the volume of fuel that a mainstream petrol station would, nor are we part of a petrol station franchise so our buying costs for fuel are far far higher than a petrol station.  If you factor all of these things in you will see why car hire companies have to charge an overall higher price for fuel than a petrol station.

When we charge for a tank of fuel the price includes a refueling fee that is to cover all of these operating costs and we are pretty open and honest about our car hire fuel charges.  In fact, on our website we list the minimum and maximum fuel costs per car group so you can make an informed decision which option is best for you.

Generally the full to empty fuel option is associated with the lowest car hire rates.  We always offer a "discounted" rate (on our website it's called "Basic") and with this rate we strip everything back to basics and discount the car as heavily as we possibly can so although you are paying slightly more for the fuel you are saving money on the car hire itself, often quite a lot of money!  I am not saying this is the case with all car hire companies but certainly at Drivalia we offer the lowest rental rates possible with the full to empty package.

Now, sometimes car hire rates (just like airline tickets) are at crazy low prices.  This can be for various reasons such as promotions, a slight surplus or any other reason and frankly the compatative car hire industry can drive rental rates lower than the actual cost that we pay to have the car.  This is why in general there are no refunds on unused fuel (although sometimes this is available after an operational admin fee is deducted). Sometimes people comment "I only hired the car to drive to the house and back and there is half a tank left".  At the same time they have had the car for two weeks and paid something crazy like 40 euros for the actual rental!  You always have to look at the overall package and decide which is best for you.  

If you are likely to do a lot of driving and use at least a full tank then with Drivalia you may want to choose a lower cost rental and opt for full to empty but if you are only going to do a little driving then don't choose the cheapest car hire deal because this will generally be full to empty and you will be paying for a full tank that you may not need.  Our full to full fuel fuel option is always the best rate for people who are not likely to drive much and even if you are doing a lot of driving you are still only paying for the fuel you use at market rates with the full to full option.

"I have booked full to empty but can I return the car full?"

This question is asked quite a lot, particularly when customers book through a broker and perhaps have not studied the information available on our own website (remember that we publish everything even the cost of fuel as part of our drive to offer the most honest and transparent car hire at Alicante airport and Mallorca airport).  Remember that if you have booked a full to empty deal then you have booked a rate that has been discounted (often heavily) based on the calculation that you will be buying a full tank.  So if you now wish to change to the full to full option this may be possible in some cases (depending on the individual booking) but if so there will be a supplement to pay to move you up to the full to full (standard) rental cost.  Clearly if we offer a car 30, 40, 50 euros cheaper because you are paying for fuel and then you choose not to pay for fuel then we cannot offer the same levels of discount or we would go out of business!

So the moral of the story is to do a little thinking about which option is best for you.  Think about your holiday plans and if in doubt we always recommend the full to full fuel option when you hire your car because no matter what happens you only pay for what you use, there is no wasted fuel and the price you see is the final price.

Remember that with Drivalia Ultimate not only do you hire your car on the full to full fuel policy but you get a complete package with a free second driver and of course full insurance with no excess, no exclusions and best of all absolutely no deposit.  You can even pay for you car with a debit card!

Hopefully this article sheds a little light onto the fuel options available from Drivalia.  Remember that as part of our drive to provide the most honest and transparent car hire at Alicante airport and Palma airport we like to give our customers a choice.  If ever you are in doubt then book the full to full fuel policy for complete peace of mind!