You’re running late for yourflight so you rush up to the rental return counter, toss the keys to the clerk and head for the shuttle.
The shock might not hit until your credit card bill shows up, weeks later, where you discover a $200 charge for having the rent-a-car company handle filling the tank on the minivan you used for your family vacation.
Rental companies have traditionally charged a steep premium if you return a car with less than a full tank, but that’s all the more so with fuel prices at the gas station now averaging an even $4 a gallon. A survey by USA Today found Hertz charging $9.29 at 13 major airport offices on April 29, while a number of Dollar and Thrifty rental sites were getting $8.99. The figures may have gone up yet again since then, depending on location.