This time around we're going to stick to one date set, instead juggling times within those dates, just to see what happens.
To make sure nobody feels left out, this time we'll pick on Alamo. We're going to start out with the mid-July rental of an economy car at PHX – that's Phoenix, in case you didn't know.
Let's say, we pick up the car on Sunday, July 11. We'll return it to the airport on Thursday, July 15. Presuming our flight gets in at 11:30, we'll reserve the car for noon. Our outbound flight is at 2:00 in the afternoon; noon is a great time to drop off the car.
Plugging all that info into Alamo.com, we get a quote of $331.34. That's quite expensive, considering it's Arizona in July. (Of course, it must be noted that about $100 of that rate was made up of the various taxes and fees that renters have come to know and love.)
Being the curious sort, we wondered: What would happen if we changed the rental time by just a smidge? We went back to Alamo.com for the answer. Instead of renting from noon to noon, we changed the times so we're renting from 11:30AM to 11:30AM.
Holy space-time continuum! The rate went from $331.34 to $219.75. That's an amazing $111.59 difference for shifting only a half hour!
Maybe it's just us, but we'll gladly get back to the airport a little earlier, just to save almost 35% on the price of the rental.
Scratch that. We wouldn't have to really change plans at all, because the clock only starts ticking from the time we pick up the rental car and ends the time we drop it off. The rate stays the same.
Pretty wild, right? A half-hour in either direction could actually save you hundreds of dollars. This is the kind of thing we obsess over here at AutoSlash, as we work to find customers the lowest rates possible on their next car rental.