From the beginning of time car rentals were only available on a per day, per week, per mile basis. Cheap 8 Seater Rental in Germiston you rented a car and paid for the time used and the miles driven. However it was only a question of time and circumstances before car rentals would be offered with free mileage.
In 1967 my partner and I took over a bankrupt car rental company and had three rental stations, Miami, 5th Street on South Beach and the third in Ft. Lauderdale. Cheap 7 Seater Hire at the time Yellow Rent A Car, owned by Yellow Cab of Miami, with rental stations in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale was offering a sub-compact car with unlimited free mileage at $45 a week. They were the first and only car rental company with free mileage but with a one week minimum rental requirement.
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I can not tell you what year they first offered free mileage but I can guess why. They were only in South Florida, 7 Seater Rental they were only dealing with the leisure market and Disney World 200 miles north was not open. Renters did not use a lot of miles. The competitive rate for a sub-compact car back in the 1960s was $5 per day, $25 per week [5 times the daily rental] and 5 cents per mile. With a one week minimum rental at $25 and with their weekly rate of $45 they would have the difference, or $20, to cover the cost of the miles. At 5 cents a mile the client could use up to 400 miles for the week and the rental would be a wash. I found out later that this was a winner for Yellow Rent A Car.
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To my knowledge Yellow Rent A Car was the granddaddy of free mileage. Their caveat was a one week minimum. My partner and I, owners of Capital Rent A Car took it one step further. We were the first to offer unlimited free mileage one day or more. One week minimum rental did not apply. It couldn’t get any better than that and I will tell you how it evolved.
We first published in CATM in 1970 and I mention this because I previously stated that we, Capital Rent A Car, was the first to offer unlimited free mileage one day or more. To substantiate this claim I must mention that in 1942 I was in my seventh grade Shop class and the teacher claimed that he invented the airplane before the Wright brothers. I am not kidding you and maybe he did. But if he did he didn’t tell anyone so Wilbur and Orville got the credit.
Maybe we weren’t the first with unlimited free miles and maybe someone in Okemos. MI or Rockford, IL did. But if they did they didn’t tell anyone. We did by being in a national publication, CATM. So we are going to take the credit for being the first. The next time you rent a car and don’t pay for mileage you can thank us.
For those out there who wish to contest our claim please contact me at my email address below, You can also read another one of my Ezine Articles, “Start A Major Car Rental Company”, dealing with the car rental business at the resource below.
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That statement in one form or another has been part of car rentals since the beginning. In the early days, it was a straight out principle issue. You used it, you replace it. At some point between then, and now, someone realized that "there's a lot of money to be made with the gas tank on rentals.
For those who don't know, lets explain your refuelling options in car rentals. When you rent a car, the car usually comes with a full tank of gas. In some circumstances, it comes with a partially full tank. In either case, the rental company will give you three options. Bring it back at the same level you got it at, (full) prepay for a full tank of gas (GSO) and bring it back empty, or bring it back empty and pay a refuelling charge (FSO) of a more expensive per gallon rate.
Fuel Service Option (FSO) is almost always the costliest option. Up and down the California Coast, most cities have FSO charges around $5.99 a gallon (and with recent prices, even higher). Around the country, its not much better. While your mileage may vary on the actual price per gallon, the FSO charges are almost always a good Dollar per gallon more expensive than the prevailing GSO (prepaid) rate or the rate of the local gas stations. It may seem that there is no really good reason to use the FSO, but there is. While most FSO users are people with more money than time or people who forgot to fill up the gas tank, there is one segment where it is cheaper to use this service than any other.
If you have a GPS unit, lock in the location of the car rental area and the closest gas station to save you time on return. Some of the best made plans are ruined by getting lost trying to get back to the airport. If traveling in a group, assign one person to look for the car rental return signs, the exit off ramp, nearest restaurant among other things that you may need on your way back to the airport.
Under no circumstances are you to buy the most expensive grade of gasoline! Let me repeat that in clearer terms. by the cheap gas. The car rental agencies all buy the cheapest gas the law will allow. Do not feel guilty topping of that car with a more expensive grade of gas. The car will break down and be sold from abuse long before the gas causes issues for the car.
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Let's say you're scheduled to fly into your destination airport at 3:00, so you've made arrangements to pick up your rental car around 3:15 or 3:30. However, your flight time has been delayed or has been rescheduled. Now you're worried that you're not going to be able to pick up your rental car because you're going to be late. What does this mean for you? How strict are car rental companies about their pick up times?
Fortunately, the above scenario is quite common. Actually, that is not a very fortunate situation, but the car rental companies are certainly not strangers to rescheduled flights or delayed flights. This is something that they contend with all of the time. As a matter of fact, they probably contend with this every single day. Think about how often your own flights have been delayed or you've heard of flight delays. We all have experienced or heard about them at some point.
Car rental companies do all that they can to make things comfortable for their customers. You definitely don't want to arrive at the car rental company's location and find that they have nothing for you. This has happened to people before, but it is very rare. If you're in an airport, you're in luck because there are other car rental companies housed within the airport. If you're not dealing with an airport, then you may have to find out where else you can go, but know that you do have options and you're not going to be stuck. You'll be able to get yourself a car no matter what.