Thursday, October 4, 2012

This Fall's Car Rental Bottom Line

Every time I rent a car at an airport it just infuriates me how the various "benevolent governmental bodies" (such as the state and federal government... county and/or municipal government... pseudo-governmental "airport authorities"... et al.) just rape travelers... counting on the fact that a large segment of the customer base for the car rental business is business travel - whereby "it's deductible" and the renter isn't paying out of pocket.

So... usually we go to Key West in October, flying either into Ft. Lauderdale or Miami. Florida being Florida, I'm usually able to get a full-size rental car for $14-$16/day... plus of course the predatory taxes and fees.

Texas ain't Florida.

Specifically... Austin ain't Ft. Lauderdale - or even Miami for that matter!

Rental cars are EXPENSIVE in Austin!

Here's the Bill Routine: When I (Mary and I) decide where we're going and when, we scour the internet for that day's best car rental rate deal. We then make a "hold" reservation at the best price available that day and between that day and the day before we actually leave we sporadically double-check for better "bang for the buck" deals.

Up till just a half-hour ago the best deals I was able to find were an off-site car rental for $245 (all inclusive) and an airport pick-up/drop-off rental for $280. 

Thing is... the off-site renter didn't provide shuttle service... we would have had to spring for a cab coming and going... and if our flight in was delayed we risked not being able to get to the off-site rental location prior to it closing. Therefore... I was gonna suck up the higher airport rate.

Now... as to today's "triumph"... note that I'd been checking Priceline all along - putting in bids pretty much each day... which is as often as they let you. No luck! They wouldn't accept my $17... $18... or even $19 bids for a full-size airport rental nor my $20... $21... $22 bids for "premium" and "luxury" cars.

Well... about a half hour ago I bid $20/day... and... I got it!

Here's what's so friggin' aggravating, though:

The car rental itself was $140 for the week...

Taxes and fees total $121.79

Folks... tell me that's not sick. 

Seriously... tell me that's not abusive beyond abusive?!

So let me get this straight... the private business that actually rents the cars... that buys the cars they rent... that pay for the staffing... the benefits for the staffers... the maintenance on the vehicles... all the various logistical costs of running a business... and takes all the risk...


These folks make $140 on the deal... on renting me a car...


These folks pay corporate taxes (35%) on the profits they make from this $140/wk. car rental...


And while they do all this in order to earn a profit of... I'm guessing... much less than $140... 


"Benevolent government"... (*PAUSE*)... "earns"... (*GNASHING MY TEETH*)... $121.79

Again... folks... does this make any friggin' sense to you...?!?!

Folks... you understand, don't you... this $121.79 represents a tax of 87%!

E*I*G*H*T*Y S*E*V*E*N F*R*I*G*G*I*N' P*E*R*C*E*N*T

And you don't think we have a problem in this friggin' country?

You think business represents "greed?"

I'm sucking it up because I have no choice... but, folks... this ain't right.

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