We receive a lot of questions at AutoSlash, many of which have short answers but might be relevant to many renters. Those questions with short answers might be featured in the AutoSlash Mailbag. Our inaugural mailbag is about “finding” cars.
Question. How can I find an electric car?
Confirming an electric car would require some time and effort, including manual searches by the AutoSlash team (if an electric vehicle is even available). Not all companies rent electric and hybrid vehicles and these tend to sell out quickly – these are some of the very few rental cars where the rental car firms would guarantee exact models. Electric cars, like all other vehicle types, are categorized under the car rental industry's ACRISS codes. It's rare to be able to book an electric car, whether a Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius, or a Tesla Model S. (Some popular destinations may have a Tesla or two available for an upgrade, though. We've been tempted!)
Question. Can AutoSlash find me a motorcycle?
Under those same ACRISS codes, we could (theoretically) find a motorcycle if they were listed by the rental car companies. However, the rental car companies are not so keen on listing motorcycles, as there’s a separate set of challenges with insurance and the provision of safety gear. In the United States, the easiest way to rent a motorcycle is through a dealership. In many tourist destinations with few or no rental cars, scooters and golf carts are also readily rented for transport through small shops.
Question: What are the oddest vehicles AutoSlash users find?
We've seen reservations for one-seat scooters, golf carts, and motorhomes come through from time-to-time.
Question. Why can’t I find a rental car in Bermuda?
There are cars in Bermuda but tourists are simply not allowed to rent cars. If we receive a request for an area where tourists are not allowed to rent cars or drive, we still provide information and links on how to get around the area. We’re helpful transportation geeks!
Question. Why can’t I find a rental car on some of the islands of Puerto Rico?
Tourists can drive in Puerto Rico but we see a variety of reasons for quotes not processing for travelers to Puerto Rico. More than 100 of the Puerto Rican islands are completely uninhabited. A few islands are officially parks, or are owned by resorts and may lack rental cars completely. Slightly larger islands – like Isla Culebra -- may only have providers without online presences and don’t book through traditional mechanisms. And the regions with the worst terrain may only have Jeeps for rental, which won’t show up with a default search for cars. Again, we’ll let a potential renter know what’s going on!
Question. Can I find a convertible for a nice spring, fall, or winter drive?
If you happen to be in Southern California, Florida, or Arizona, the answer’s very likely yes. While convertibles can be found in a broad geographic range during the summer, these vehicles do migrate to warmer climates in the winter. Convertibles have a much higher utilization rate where the weather is warm (in the Southern U.S. during the winter) than areas with inclement weather potential. Rental car companies hate having unused cars on their lots due to the constant depreciation of the vehicles. If you’re in a comparatively “cold-weather” climate and need to look for a convertible, the best hope is to rent from another individual using a service like Turo.com. They might even be able to help our one or two customers a year who seem insistent on renting a convertible in New England in January...
Question. Are there any places in the Continental United States where I can't find a rental car?
Of course! My hometown still doesn’t have any rental car options and once one moves away from the coastal regions, there are tons of places more than an hour from the nearest rental car company and even a few places in the Northwest Plains that are more than two hours away from the nearest car rental location. We see a few examples of these requests per week and don’t like telling fellow travelers that the nearest rental car is hours away – if the traveler could pick up a car multiple hours away, the rental car would probably be unnecessary!
Live in the Great Plains? You're likely closer to a McDonald’s than any possible rental car firm (counting every company). Across the border in Canada, we’ve seen requests where the nearest rental car site is more than five hours away.
Despite the tagline, Enterprise’s pick-up radius is only 10 miles ...
Question. If I decide to move somewhere with more rental car options, can I find a vehicle with a towing hitch?
There are two answers to this inquiry. The short answer is the rental car companies won’t guarantee a towing hitch on your rental car or truck because towing is a prohibited use of the vehicle. Yet there’s a workaround. While the rental car companies themselves disallow towing, the Truck Rental divisions may allow towing. For instance, Enterprise Truck Rental has specific offers related to towing-capable pickup trucks. Budget Truck also allows towing, although only on 16-foot or greater moving vans.
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