Hawaii Car Renters May Get A Break

Hawaii Car Renters May Get A Break

The cost of renting cars at Hawaii airports is still set to climb another $3.50 a day starting September 1.  On that day the car rental airport facility charge will go from $1.00 to $4.50 per day.

The new fees will be in addition to the following charges already in place:

  • Hawaii State General Excise Tax on Oahu -- 4.712%; on Hawaii, Kauai, Lanai, Maui and Molokai -- 4.166%
  • Hawaii State Motor Vehicle Rental Surcharge of $3.00 per day.
  • Vehicle Licensing & Registration Fee -- typically up to $1.00 per day (depending on vehicle and location)
  • Airport Concession Recovery Fee of 11.11%

H.R. 4175 to the rescue of renters nationwide

A bill in congress however stands ready to reverse this trend and help renters both here in Hawaii and throughout the country.

H.R. 4175 is designed to eliminate state and locality imposed fees (although it may still grandfather in existing fees). The bill will prohibits state or local governments from levying taxes on car rentals that don’t also apply to the majority of other rentals of personal property.

As bad as extra airlines fees are, car rental fees seems to be getting as bad or worse. Almost every state now imposes excise taxes on rental cars. The industry and Hawaii renters in particular are plagued by charges which obfuscate the real total total cost of a car rental.  Car rental firms and travel organizations are supporting elimination of such fees.

The National Consumers League testified at the hearing last week, “Enough! H.R. 4175 will prospectively bar discriminatory car rental taxes—which are really added fees—imposed by states and localities…. NCL believes that states and localities should not impose fees on consumers who rent cars when those fees have nothing to do with improving the services they receive.”

The National Business Travel Association also testified in favor of H.R. 4175: “Politicians have turned to enacting excise taxes on rental car customers. The premise being taxes on rental car customers is an easy way to raise funds without raising taxes on voters or local businesses…. However, at closer inspection this view does not hold up.”

You can track the bill’s progress on govtrack.us, an innovative technology which helps track bills in Congress.

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3 Comments

  1. Oliver (3 years ago)

    So the car rental companies are in favor of this, eh? Maybe they could start by getting rid of the junk feed that they themselves add, such as vehicle license recovery fees or frequent flyer mile fees.

  2. Elsie Callejo (3 years ago)

    We here rent a lot of cars at the airport and wanted to know what kind of tax fee are exempt. Example is if a company is not located at the airport like either Thifty or National what kind of tax fee would apply.

    • Jeff (3 years ago)

      Hi Elsie,

      Good question. As far as I know, the advantage of a non-airport rental is the avoidance of both the airport facility charge (now $1/day and soon to be $4.50) and the airport concession recovery fee (11.11%).

      Aloha, Jeff