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Confusion over the need to get a separate fuel ration card for a rental vehicle has caused some pain at the pump, forcing some drivers to shell out more per gallon to fill up.

Installation Management Command-Europe and Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials said a major problem with the gas cards in Germany is that drivers don’t realize they cannot use the same fuel card for a rental vehicle that they use for their privately owned vehicle.

One fuel card user who was filling up Friday at Vogelweh said she has heard of widespread problems with the process of getting a fuel card for a rental vehicle.

"A lot of people are getting confused," said Hannah Dixon, whose husband is in the 2nd Battalion, 106th Infantry Regiment at Baumholder. "It doesn’t make sense. When you start using them for rental cars, it was a big problem."

Dixon said she was shocked when she had to pay German gas prices when she hit the road in a rental car in July because didn’t have a card specifically for her rental vehicle. German gas prices translate into about $5.40 a gallon.

AAFES spokesman Lt. Col. David Konop said he has heard other horror stories about people paying German gas prices because they didn’t get a fuel card for their rental vehicle. But it is unclear how widespread of a problem it is because AAFES does not record the number and type of complaints it receives.

AAFES and IMCOM officials said people can avoid the headaches of paying high German prices by following a simple two-step process:

A listing of the MP and customs locations to obtain the form can be found on IMCOM’s Web site at www.imcom-europe.army.mil/sites/news/fuelcard_mp.asp

"This is something that has been negotiated with our host nation that has to be complied with," Konop said. "This is not something that AAFES came up with. It is just a matter of getting the information out to the soldiers and their families."

Another problem is that people coming to Germany on temporary duty do not know they need a card for a rental vehicle or how to get one, Konop added.

Lisa Walsh, whose husband is a technical sergeant based at Ramstein Air Base, said she spent a couple of hours and went to several offices before she learned how to get a card for her rental vehicle.

"I guess we were totally lost," she said. "We didn’t know what was going on with our new card," Walsh said.

IMCOM has tried to explain the process by going to communities throughout Germany and holding town hall-like meetings, IMCOM spokesman Ken White said. Not a lot of people have attended, he said.

Konop said only about 20 people showed up for the IMCOM meeting he attended in Wiesbaden.

"We have been pushing this very heavily for a year, but it is a journey of discovery because it has never been done before," White said. "Since we are dealing with such a new program, we are certainly going to run into challenges … we [have] got to educate people."


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