The bottom appears to be quickly falling out on Turo Hawaii car rentals. We couldn’t believe our eyes today on the prices we found. The cost of your Hawaii vacation is starting to look somewhat better, at least in that regard. Here’s what happened and what it means.
Hawaii car rental companies never planned to take Turo rentals sitting down.
They had just been hand-tied due to conditions largely outside their control, including a lack of inventory. As that starts to return to some degree of normalcy, they’ve begun to drop prices. We found, even at Hertz, prices this fall are way down at most locations. For example, on Maui an economy car for $44 or a mid-size SUV below $70 per day. That big drop together with the excess number of Turo vehicles that are in Hawaii have crashed together to create a new paradigm.
Turo Hawaii prices we found today.
Let’s start with the absurd. For less than the prices we saw recently for a sub-compact, you can now rent a top-of-the-line car on Turo in Hawaii for close to the same amount.
Here are the lowest prices we found for dates of September 14–21, picked up and dropped off at airports, plus two rentals at each location that caught our eye.
Turo Hawaii on Maui from $42/day.
2022 Subaru Forrester $68/day.
2022 Jeep Renegate $75/day
Turo Hawaii on Oahu from $32/day.
2021 Toyota Corolla $40/day
2022 Lexus NX SUV $73/day
Turo Hawaii on Kauai from $68/day.
2021 Honda Civic Hatchback $72/day
2022 Hyundai Venue SUV $84/day
Turo Hawaii on Big Island from $56/day.
2022 Kia Soul $59/day
2018 Ford EcoSport SUV $64/day
Hawaii had plans to ban Turo entirely, but that never happened.
A bill (HB1500), stuck in Hawaii legislative committee sought to stop all Turo Hawaii and other peer-to-peer car-share programs permanently. The purpose of HB1500, which was introduced in January, reads that it “prohibits any person from operating, using, or controlling a peer-to-peer car-sharing program in the State.”
While it is doubtful that’ll ever pass, even according to the bill’s author, what we’ll probably see is an increase in taxes for Turo Hawaii rentals and some additional rules.
Hawaii requires taxes and rental surcharges on every rental car. At the time, Hawaii sales tax reps said it “wants to be “really, really fair with any commercial car rental operation.”
It goes both ways, however, as there also is a big discrepancy in Hawaii taxes on purchasing cars used for rentals. Traditional car agencies have to date paid a 0.5% wholesale rate tax on new cars. Turo owners, as consumers, however, pay over 4% general excise tax. Turo Hawaii has labeled this as “a front-end sales-tax loophole.”
Hawaii’s car rental shortage has gone unabated.
Turo Hawaii has been one way that visitors and residents have been able to cope with the ongoing shortage of rental cars and the concomitant sky-high prices of Hawaii car rentals. That arose as rental car companies reduced their fleets by shipping them to the mainland and were then unable to buy new cars due to ship shortages and other reasons. Turo has also served as a means by which many Hawaii residents have made a little extra money (or a lot — see below), while either sharing their personal car or buying and sharing new cars with others including Hawaii visitors who are looking for at least a little better deal. Tourists still don’t like finding out that prices for Hawaii car rentals have gone through the roof unexpectedly.
Why do visitors rent from Turo Hawaii?
Car guru’s JD Power said of the Hawaii car rental situation, “It’s not very pleasant… to find out they have to pay $300 a day for a Kia.”
Turo Hawaii, compared with, say, Craigslist, has distinct advantages. Turo offers liability insurance coverage from Liberty Mutual for both parties, offering some added level of comfort. We suggest you check for yourself, however, as not all insurance companies may handle Turo similarly.
What will become of Turo fleet hosts next?
While Turo became the world’s largest peer-to-peer car rental company, like vacation rentals from Airbnb, and a fleet of over a half-million vehicles, it didn’t end there. Turo started with local hosts renting their own cars, but quickly morphed into a way to amass private, largely unregulated, rental car businesses.
Those have been highly highly lucrative too, with Turo once saying that owners can earn more than $10k per year per vehicle as they set their own prices. But that was when rentals were regularly starting at close to $200/day.
Now that rentals are as low as 25% of what they were not long ago, those who bought and financed fleets of vehicles specifically for their Turo businesses, are likely going to be in trouble.
Turo offers a unique selection of cars including swanky exotic ones, especially compared to traditional car rentals. We even saw late-model Mercedes for well under $100/day. And Porsche’s too!
The company says, “skip the rental counter and book the perfect exotic or luxury from a trusted Turo host.” We have to say we’ve tried that for a few days, and in our case, it worked out great. Even those of us who live here occasionally need a rental, and the shortage and cost of car rentals in Hawaii provided the ideal opportunity to try it out ourselves.
Turo says, “whether it’s a truck to help on moving day, a swanky exotic for a luxurious weekend away, or a classic cruiser for a picture-perfect road trip, with more than 600,000 vehicles listed worldwide, Turo lets you find the perfect vehicle for your next adventure.”
Parking problems with Hawaii Turo also created a bad neighbor situation.
When Turo cars are parked on public streets or in private parking lots, it may in fact be illegal, and there have been many complaints from neighbors here in Hawaii. Residents don’t like it when a fleet of a dozen cars or more are parked in their neighborhood without permitting. Turo has only said it wants “hosts to be good community members and citizens.” But what exactly does that mean about being a good neighbor when your Turo cars are parked on private property not designated for commercial operation?
Another issue is parking and airport access for Turo pickups and dropoffs. Maui has been trying to limit Turo cars at Kahului airport and OGG prohibits commercial (Turo) cars from parking in their parking lots. Turo has been attempting to obtain parking permits for their cars at Hawaii airports and in other localities in all 50 states in which they now operate.
What Turo Hawaii says about Hawaii Turo regulations.
“Help keep Turo in Hawaii” said Turo. Regarding Hawaii’s proposal to ban Turo, the company said, “If passed, this unfair law would forbid peer-to-peer platforms like Turo from operating in the state, eliminating economic opportunity for Hawaii residents who share their cars with neighbors and visitors alike to make ends meet. The Hawaii peer-to-peer car sharing community has played a key role during the pandemic by providing a more cost effective option than traditional rental car companies with sky high prices and very limited supply. Our guest community, who uses peer-to-peer car sharing to get around town or visit the islands, would be left without an economical choice when seeking a mobility solution.”
From a commenter:
Arturo said, “Being a Turo host is no longer worth it with the saturated market and huge drop in rental rates because people purchased cars they could not afford and now a 22 Jeep Rubicon can be had for under 80/100 a day and is a 75k plus jeep in hawaii. Between the high cost of vehicles, the big fees from turo, the competition and the high risk of damages is it really worth risking it buying a car you any afford to have unless it’s rented out? Do the math you have to rent your vehicle 20 plus days to even break even And before taxes and additional expenses. Very few make good $ being a turo host, most are in and out within a year. I’ve seen many of my neighbors and friends fail and get in big financial trouble trying to scale up in Turo.”
We welcome your thoughts on Turo Hawaii rentals and Hawaii car rentals.