If you've ever stood in a seemingly endless conga line at an airport car rental counter — exhausted from flying with little leg room and less elbow room, cranky about the baby crying in your ear throughout a long flight, and starved because all you've had to eat was a little bag of stale pretzels — and puzzled over whether to prepay for gas or return the vehicle with its tank on fumes, this should help you decide in a heartbeat: Rental agencies at some U.S. airports are charging a heart-stopping 9 bucks a gallon to refill or top off the tank, according to USA Today
For example, Hertz was charging $9.29 a gallon at 13 big airports that USA Today surveyed on April 25, the newspaper reported. Dollar and Thrifty were charging a mere $8.99 a gallon at two of the airports, USA Today reported.
At $9.29 a gallon, Hertz customers renting a Ford Club Wagon, with its gargantuan 35-gallon fuel tank, would owe Hertz $325.15 for gas if they returned it empty without prepaying.
On the good-news side, renters who pay ahead of time for a tank of gas from Hertz or another car rental company just might be able to find the per-gallon prepay price cheaper than at many local gas stations, USA Today reported.
More than 50 of 102 prepay prices the eight big car rental companies charge at the 13 airports were cheaper than the average price at local gas stations that day, according to the USA Today analysis and AAA auto club data.
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