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Maui Car Rental Airport Fees

Maui Car Rental Airport Fees

January 28, 2024 - If there's anything that travelers love to grumble about, it's the amount of taxes and fees that are added to their rental car charges. As far as we know, the taxes and fees on Maui car rentals are no worse - and in some cases, they are significantly better - than other US travel destinations. Comparing the amounts by location is not what this post is about. It's about understanding the taxes and fees that are specific to Maui and how a savvy traveler (you!) can save on these amounts.

To this end, we use as an example a car rental company, Enterprise, that has two locations in Maui. One location right at Maui's Kahului Airport (OGG), in the Rentacar Center, and another location off-airport, on Hana Highway, about one mile away from OGG's arrivals terminal (off-peak, this is a $8 Uber ride that takes only la few minutes).

For a one-week rental beginning Monday 1/29/24, for the same identical compact car, a Nissan Versa, there is a significant difference in the price of the rental, depending on whether you get it from Enterprise right at the airport, or get it at the Enterprise off-airport location.

AMOUNT Location
$382.28 Enterprise at the airport
$157.47 Enterprise off-airport
$224.81 Difference between locations

We got these rates from the Enterprise website - straight from the horse's mouth.

Whoa Nelly! The rate for an airport rental is more than twice the off-airport rate, for the same car, from the same company, the only difference being the location!

It's tempting to jump to the conclusion that the difference is all due to predatory taxes and fees. True, taxes and fees are a factor, but that's not the whole story.

Let's break it down. This is line-by-line accounting for every item that contributes to the total rental amount.

$252.94          $102.45       Base Rate
$29.15                  -             CONCESSION RECOVERY FEE 11.11 PCT
$31.50                  -             CUSTOMER FACILITY CHARGE 4.50/DAY
$45.50            $45.50         RENT TAX SURCHARGE $6.50/DAY
$9.45                $4.48         VEHICLE LICENSING FEE
$12.15              $4.45         GENERAL EXCISE TAX (4.166%)
$1.59                $0.59         MAUI COUNTY TAX (0.546%)
$129.34         $55.02          TOTAL TAXES & FEES
$382.28       $157.47          TOTAL RENTAL AMOUNT

The total amount of taxes and fees paid at the airport is $129.34. Off-airport, it's $55.02. That's a difference of $74.32, or more than $10/day on a seven day rental.

A big chunk of this difference is from the concession fee (11.11% of rental amount, which is the airport authority's tax on the rental amount), and the facilities fee ($4.50/day, which goes to paying the rental company's rent basically). These two items amount to
$60.65 out of the $74.32 difference between airport rental and off-airport rental.

The remaining contribution, which in principle should be the same at both locations, is from the sate and local sales taxes, that amount to about 4.6% combined, and for the "Vehicle Licensing Fee," which is just another way for the rental car company to slip a few more dollars into the total.

But the biggest contribution to the difference in price is from the base rate for rental. For whatever reason, the base rate from Enterprise location at the airport is about $150/week more, for the same car, than the off-airport Enterprise - $252/week versus $102/week. There is no way to make sense of this difference in the base rate, except as maybe a "convenience premium" that the rental company charges because it knows it can get it.

What this all means: Airport taxes and fees are a significant portion of the difference between airport rates and off-airport rates. But it's not the whole story. Rental car companies charge a premium (for the same car) if you pick it up at the airport. Maybe they can get away with it by passing it off as "taxes and fees." But absent any other explanation, it's gouging, pure and simple.

Meanwhile, our weekly survey of Maui car rental rates find them continuing their free-fall tumble The lowest advertised rate for a one-week rental from Maui's Kahului Airport (OGG) are down from the previous week:
Off-airport (with shuttle) $156.26
Airport Rentacar Center $253.59
Source: rentalcars.com

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