Ducey: Are you renting the most car for the least money? - East Valley Tribune: Business

Ducey: Are you renting the most car for the least money?

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Posted: Sunday, August 4, 2013 6:14 am

If you’re heading out on a summer vacation or planning a holiday getaway, you’re likely renting a car.

And you probably want the most car for the least money.

And you surely compare prices on a number of rental car and travel sites.

But — yes, there’s a but — those prices don’t always give you the full picture.

For Marcia Anderson, the Kia Rio she wanted looked great when advertised for $14 a day.

But, another $8.60 in fees, every day, made the real cost $23!

Marcia says the great $149 rate she found ended up totaling more than $250.

She questioned the $17.30 for a concession recoup fee.

She wondered why it cost her $41 for a facility fee? What facility?

And she had to pay a $8.45 “you drive-it” tax!

Most of the extras are fees that come not from the rental car industry, but from local and state governments looking for an extra buck from outsiders.

If you rent a car out of town, your money could be helping to plug a budget gap in the San Francisco Bay area, or fund the performing arts center in Las Vegas.

So, which cities charge you the most when you visit?

Last year, we reserved cars at airports in the top five travel destinations for Arizonans. We found this is how much of the rental car cost goes towards fees and taxes:

• San Diego: nearly 50 percent

• Las Vegas: 37 percent

• New York City: 25 percent, though your car rental itself does cost much more

• Los Angeles and San Francisco: more than 50 percent

The next time you rent a car, compare ALL the costs.

And the lowest costs may not be at the airport because the taxes are higher there.

One more tip: Many downtown-area hotels in major cities have car rental counters in the lobby. If you can take a free shuttle from the airport to the hotel, try renting downtown at the hotel itself.

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