ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ Revs Up Criticism of Car Rental Gasoline Fees

If you break the terms of a contract, you should be expected to pay a penalty, right? Not according to ABC's "Good Morning America."

"Good Morning America" criticized fees charged to customers who return rental cars without a full tank of gas - part of a standard car rental agreement.

"The only thing more expensive than gassing up your car these days is not gassing up your rental car," reporter Elisabeth Leamy explained to viewers on August 29. She said companies across the nation charge as much as $8 per gallon for cars returned unfilled.

Leamy pointed to attorney general Doug Gansler's fight in the state of Maryland, where he threatened to sue rental companies unless they charged "reasonable rates." He called the fees "wrong and outrageous."

Leamy didn't say what would constitute a "reasonable rate." But in Maryland, Gansler negotiated an agreement that the fee would not exceed 35 percent of the local market price for full service gasoline, or a flat rate of $10 per vehicle, according to a June 12 report in The Washington Post.

But there are reasons for the fees, including common courtesy and losses incurred by the companies when a car is returned without a full tank.