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Sarah Rice

Sarah is our insurance specialist, reporting the latest important developments in the industry.

Car hire market forecast to treble in Spain for British tourists

UK holidaymakers heading to sunny Spain this year could face a sharp rise in the cost of car hire, according to new research.

Spain is one of the most popular annual holiday destinations for Britons as a growing number of families, couples and friends flock to the country for sun, sea, sand and sangria.

However, those who enjoy driving across scenic Spanish landscapes may have new challenges as the high cost of fuel could drain their holiday finances.

Consumer watchdog, Which? found that the cost of car rental in Spain could treble as hidden fuel charges come to the surface.

As the economic problems grow for Spain generally, a number of car rental firms in the country are finding new ways to make cash. As a result, they are now charging customers for car hire with a full tank and receiving the vehicle back with an empty tank.

This means that holiday motorists are potentially paying over-inflated prices for fuel which they may not be able to make full use of.

Previously, the conventional system saw the vehicle returned as it was received in terms of fuel content.

The research found that car hire in Malaga with basic insurance was 30 Euros with one particular company, however, once they added fuel the price dramatically increased to 94 Euros.

The problem may stretch beyond Malaga and to other popular holiday destinations. Cheap car hire Majorca may be available, however, high fuel costs could be an additional extra which may hinder your holiday fun.

Speaking to the Independent, Chris Gray of Which? said: "No-frills airlines have their hidden card surcharges.”

"In car hire, the hidden charge has become fuel. Consumers should not be in a position where booking a car rental commits them to paying an unavoidable charge with no refunds, with no idea how much the charge may be.”