Stupid Tip of the Day: Watch Out for the Rates of One-Way Car Rentals

L iving in the United States typically means that certain things can usually be taken for granted: complimentary refills of soft drinks in most restaurants; and unlimited miles with car rentals…

Stupid Tip of the Day: Watch Out for the Rates of One-Way Car Rentals

…but watch out for the rates of one-way car rentals, as they can initially be deceiving.

Using Avis as a random example, let us price a car in the Intermediate class to rent one way from Atlanta to Gulfport — a distance of approximately 4oo miles — for Wednesday, January 18, 2017 for a duration of 24 hours.

One-Way car rental rates

Source: Avis.

We know that taxes and fees will be added to the rate of $41.00, which is not a bad rate for the use of a rental car for one day.

One-Way car rental rates

Source: Avis.

Sure enough, the total rental for the day will be $57.44, including all taxes and fees — it is nice to see the total in bold red numerals — but is that really what you will pay when you return the car?

One-Way car rental rates

Source: Avis.

Look again: no miles are included with this rate. You will be expected to pay 0.4 United States dollars — 40 cents — per mile. Assuming you simply drive the distance from Atlanta to Biloxi with no side trips whatsoever, you will incur an additional cost of $160.00. Add the $57.44 to that; and your total bill when you drop off the rental car becomes $217.44 for 24 hours.

One-Way car rental rates

Source: Avis.

Depending on the “discount” rate code which you use, your rate might be presented another way. In the above example — all of the information is exactly the same except for the discount rate code used — the base rate is $189.89…

One-Way car rental rates

Source: Avis.

…but this rate includes unlimited miles; and when the fees and taxes are added, your total bill when you drop off the rental car becomes $240.15 for 24 hours — which is certainly no bargain.

The base rate increased substantially to $189.89 because included in that rate is a “drop-off” charge which can be included on one-way vehicle rentals.

Summary

Avis is certainly not the only rental car company which engages in this practice — most car rental companies in the United States do this — and it is legal. You just need to be diligent in reading all of the details pertaining to your potential contract prior to renting the vehicle — or at least before paying for the rental in advance.

By the way, it will soon be time for rates on car rentals from Florida one-way to certain destinations to be as low as $7.95 per day — and my experience suggests that those rates typically include unlimited miles with no drop-off charges. The only extra costs are taxes and fees, which are usually minimal.

Source: Avis.

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