Rental car gas prices hit more than $9 a gallon

The price of gasoline has reached more than $9 a gallon for drivers who don’t pay ahead of time and who return their rental cars without a full tank.

Rental car companies vie to be more disliked than oil companies:

A USA TODAY survey of auto rental gas prices at 13 big airports on April 25 found Hertz was charging $9.29 a gallon at all 13. Dollar and Thrifty were charging $8.99 a gallon at two.

At $9.29 a gallon, Hertz customers renting a Ford Club Wagon, which has a 35-gallon fuel tank, would owe Hertz $325.15 for gas if they returned the wagon with a nearly empty tank and hadn’t prepaid for the gas.

Obviously, renters are relatively price-insensitive.  They won’t drive much less based on this gouging.  It’s a good trick for the companies, lamely defended:

Although the prices anger some travelers, rental companies say they’re not in the fuel business and offer gas as a customer convenience.

How convenient!

7 Responses to Rental car gas prices hit more than $9 a gallon

  1. Robert says:

    All this stuff about oil and gas prices is very interesting but has little to do with climate change. It’s mostly just the market operating, slightly distorted as usual by taxes, subsidies and corporate exploitation.

    Prices will get far, far higher over the coming decades and I am sure that driving conventional cars will eventually become the preserve of the ultra rich.

    Petrol prices in the UK get scarier each day. My nearest filling station is currently asking 139.9 pence for unleaded and 146.9 pence for diesel. That works out at $8.73 and $9.18 per US gallon (at $1.65 = £1).

    I don’t drive much because I work at home, but general inflation is running at about 5% (food even higher) and interest rates are far lower than inflation. Basically we are all getting steadily poorer.

    As I said – all very interesting but nothing to do with climate change. Global oil production has been flat since 2005, China and India and consuming more each year and the west is consuming less and paying more. CO2 just keeps going up:

  2. catman306 says:

    Expensive gasoline is good gasoline, people will use less of it. But a gallon of expensive gasoline is still just a gallon of gasoline. Maybe it’s the money that’s changed in value.

  3. Barry says:

    In case anyone hasn’t caught on yet, corporations that sell fossil fuels just love high prices. Love them. Really really love them.

    If you are selling oil products you are dancing in the streets at the prospect of even higher prices. Higher prices = bigger profits with less risk. Corporate nirvana.

    Even the rental car companies are now charging up to $200 in labor costs to fill a tank with gas for you. Only a thousand dollars an hour. Chump change for Exxon.

  4. Stephen says:

    Well that’s about what we in the UK pay at the cheapest gasoline stations, it is about £6 per (British) gallon in ‘old money’ . There is no shortage of punters!

    And it has increased since then! It never fails to amuse how Americans whine about the price of fuel.

  5. Joan Savage says:

    Let’s imagine how the punitive fee would work with a full-electric rental car.

    It’s seems conventional wisdom to require a recharge on a rental before returning it, but batteries don’t top-off quite like a tank of gas. Maybe we will live to see a very different pricing system.

  6. Robert says:

    Gas prices have absolutely no connection to CO2. CO2 emissions from oil products are directly proportional to global oil consumption which may have peaked due to geological constraints but is also at an all time high. In any case supply/demand (roughly the same thing) isn’t about to nosedive just because western gas prices are high. It works the other way round – high prices just refect the balance between tight supply and strong demand.

  7. Susan Anderson says:

    Actually, high gas prices would be helpful. But in defense of rental companies, people should be aware that though our social model fails to encourage us to learn the standard operating procedure, it has always been normal to return it with a full tank. A recent rental offered me a price *below* market if I prepaid. With all the things we worry about, people complaining about being penalized for not returning the car with a full tank when they had one when they started out are just whining IMO.