Tuesday, May 27, 2008

the rental car gas scam

we took a rental on the 4 day trip to cali. it was $13 a day and had 200 miles on it. a brand new hyundai. it ended up getting about 35 miles a gallon for the whole trip.

we put 2000 miles on it and it goes pretty fast. about 85mph, consistently on the interstate.

like the weather here in utah, colorado etc it was raining hard in national park, coming down like buckets. up higher over the pass back to mammoth, they closed the road. it was snowing above 7000 feet and thats the only road to nevada, besides I-80 or bakersfield/vegas. so i decided to go the long way and head south. that left for a lot of white line fever.

anyway back to the story of the rental car gas scam.

when is your car ever "empty"
the gas light comes on.

then you wonder, when will it run out.
well i tested this theory yesterday. and i tested it because the lady at the rental counter offered me a 14 gallon tank on her for $3.40 a gallon. quickly informing me that the local rate was currently $3.80.

so why wouldnt i want that?

i took it.

and i know why they offer this. see they are trying to make money. just like everyone else. nothing wrong about that, they just worked the angle on little on the sly.
just my style.
so i beat them at their own game.

they charge $3.40 a gallon for a 14 gallon tank.

but really, who returns the car with nothing in the tank. usually no one. so i tested the theory of an empty tank.

the gas light comes on and i keep driving. i keep going and going, and going.

im watching the miles tick by, 20, then 30.

then 40
then 50.

now im 60 miles past empty. the light came on 60 miles ago.

then 70.

ok 75 miles past E, the car runs out.

now what.

im in draper and about 20 miles to go. so you think im stupid.
i put a 2 gallon can in the trunk and put in a gallon and drove home.

so i returned the car with about 5 miles of gas left in it and got my $3.40 a gallon.

nickel and dime.

thats how they make money. they dont make it on $13 a day rentals. but they might make $15 or $20 bucks on each car in charged gas if you return it with fuel in the tank.

since it is pre-pay at $3.40 a gallon for a full 14 gallon tank.

not really a scam, but when they offer you the tank be sure to realize they are making money any way they can.

not there to give you a good deal.
even if it is $20 bucks at a time.


I am Matt said...

Rental cars are a scam period.

Eat Sleep MTB said...

Don't forget that they don't actually fill it all the way up either. So if you opt to not go with the prepay, they say bring it back full, which is a few gallons past the "Full" mark, even though they didn't really fill it that full to begin with.