Having been lately in the United States, car rentals are a special delight for travelers coming over in order to drive neat big cars, esp. SUVs, and pay nice prices.
If you hire a car at an affiliate of Germany's biggest automobile club, ADAC, you will pay 50 euros a day with your membership card for GM Vauxhall / Opel Astra with gear stick and clutch. At Miami's RCC near MIA where at least 2.500 cars are always available for customers, you will pay 63 dollars, the equivalent of 50 euros, for a fully equipped Jeep Cheerokee with automatic transmission and AWD.
OK, my observed highway mileage, calculated on 800 miles driving experience, was about 23 miles per US-gallon.
Well, you really make the ultimate experience at the gas-station, the prices shown make the European travelers smile and the U.S. residents curse. Florida's $3.60 per gallon, this translates to about 80 euro cents per liter, only half the price the Germans and Britons currently pay at their pumps.
Now, the "cultural" difference. Having just passed Key Largo and on the way back to Miami, I was able to fill up for $3.479 pg.
Before getting a single drop from the pump, I had to see the shop assistant - either paying cash in advance or handing over and swiping your credit card. Interesting - pre-payment, well, don't trust the cheaters who wanna free-load by "stealing the valuable regular or premium fuel".
Yes, with these "sky-high prices", the gas-station employees in the U.S. are well advised to make this approach. Hand over your car keys or pay 50 bucks in advance or make a debit-check on your card before getting the release for gassing up.
The situation is different in Germany. You drive to the pump and get "your" fuel without prior notice to the attendant. You fill up, you take your cash or credit-card to the shop assistant and off you go, with classic post-payment and this with €1.60 per litre, translates to more than 7 bucks a gallon!
Devised more trust; ok, it's the companies' policy here.
The gas-stations are virtually German IRS affiliates - almost one euro per litre or $3.80 per gallon will be transferred to the treasury.
Does "fuel-fraud" = gas-stealing exist here? Well, for sure.
I recently spoke to a franchise taker of Esso/ Exxon's, who was really pissed off by nearly 5 pc of lost tank revenue by non-payers. In these cases, the law enforcement procedures are often in vain because the fraudsters also steal license plates. We won't see pre-payment here anytime soon. The franchise taker would rather adopt the U.S. system, I can understand this well - but the people here would get a rocket-start if this U.S. scheme was introduced.