This week, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association said drivers were creating the framework for major rows. Norman Donkin, director general of the BVRLA, wrote a strongly worded letter to transport minister Lord Macdonald, saying: 'The vehicle rental industry is being seriously affected. Hirers are unable to obtain fuel to return vehicles to rental locations and are abandoning them. Disputes over responsibility for vehicles is proliferating and few new rentals are being taken out. Storage is becoming a problem for rental companies as their fleets are normally out on the road.'
At Kenning Car Van and Truck Rental, Tim Eaves, sales and marketing director, said: 'We have even had some of our largest customers hiring vehicles, draining the fuel tanks for their own fleets, then handing them back to us.'
Fleets are also set for wrangles over insurance liability if vehicles are damaged while abandoned, because the customer would be held liable for repair costs and lost rental income.