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  1. Default 3 Weeks Road Trip - Jun'10

    Hi guys,

    This is my first post. My friend and I (24 yrs old) are from Singapore and are taking a road trip to the west coast (arriving 18 Jun and departing 9 Jul).

    Is it better to rent a hybrid and save on petrol or rent a cheap car but spend more on petrol?

    The places we want to visit for now is
    - San Francisco
    - pacific coast highway
    - LA
    - death valley
    - LV
    - grand canyon
    - Denver

    How should we get back from Denver to SF? Is there anything to see at salt lake city region?

    Is there enough time to do a day trip from LV to death valley?

    Is there any festivals/ concerts which are must see?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    Hybrids are really only advantageous driving in the cities at relatively low speeds. Gasoline is very cheap here compared to most of the rest of the world, the extra cost to rent a hybrid will not be made up by the nominal better highway mileage. Being that you are both under 25, the young driver surcharge is going to make the rental cost the majority of your car expense anyway.

    A compact sedan with a 4 cylinder engine will probably average you at least 25 miles per gallon over the duration of a trip where a hybrid might get 35. At $3 a gallon, that's not a substantial savings.

    I just used the Enterprise calculator - a hybrid for 3 weeks in San Francisco will cost you $600 more than a compact sedan - $1500 vice $900. You would have to drive 15,000 miles for a payback.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Thousands of options.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    It seems as though you have a list of places at the moment but are not sure what you want to do. The area around SF, LA and LV are much discussed on these forums and theses are some of our favorite threads, although you will find many more searching the forums.

    How should we get back from Denver to SF?
    Do you mean transport or route ? It is a 3 day direct drive back to SF but if you were to fly you would have the cost of a one way drop off fee on your car rental as well as flight costs.

    One of many options that would make a nice round trip and "hits your targets" would be SF>LA>Grand canyon>Denver>Las Vegas>Death valley>Yosemite>SF. This would be in the region of just over 3000 miles and be a good weeks drive through the area leaving you time to do some exploring.

    Highlights could include taking the coast road between SF and LA, Grand canyon, Monument valley, Mesa Verde and Four corners, Rocky mountain NP, Arches, Bryce canyon and Zion NP's in Utah, Vegas, Death valley and Yosemite NP among others.

    Have a sit down with a good map and start putting some dots on it with places of interest. Search the forums for more info and when you have built a clearer picture let us know and we can help "fine tune" it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default false economy

    I completely agree with GLC that you won't save any money with a Hybrid - in fact you'll spend a lot more. Think of it this way, if you purchase a hybrid, you generally need to drive for well over 100,000 miles before you even come close to breaking even on the extra purchase price. The car rental companies is certainly going to pass along that extra cost, and there's no way you'd recoup the difference over just a few weeks.

    There's also the fact that a hybrid really doesn't save gas on a long haul roadtrip, because its savings comes from city driving, where you're starting and stopping, using mostly battery power. On the highway, you're mostly using the gas engine.

    And finally, because of your age, its quite likely you couldn't even rent a hybrid if it was a better choice. In addition to underage driver fees, most rental companies simply do not rent "premium" vehicles to people under age 25 - and a hybrid is typically in that "premium/specialty" category.

  5. Default Thanks!

    Thanks for all the great replies!

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Being that you are both under 25, the young driver surcharge is going to make the rental cost the majority of your car expense anyway.
    I just used the Enterprise calculator - a hybrid for 3 weeks in San Francisco will cost you $600 more than a compact sedan - $1500 vice $900. You would have to drive 15,000 miles for a payback.
    I am 24, my friend is 26. We will be renting under his name. I checked Enterprise website and they had a restriction

    Mileage Restrictions
    MILEAGE IS UNLIMITED WHEN VEHICLE REMAINS IN CALIFORNIA. IF TRAVELING TO THE BORDERING STATES OF ARIZONA, NEVADA, AND OREGON, MILEAGE WILL BE CHARGED AT 150 MILES FREE PER DAY AND .25 FOR EACH ADDITIONAL MILE WITH A MAXIMUM OF 2500 MILES PER MONTH. VEHICLES ARE NOT ALLOWED TO TRAVEL OUTSIDE OF THESE STATES.
    How do they know where the vehicle is? do they track the car by GPS? As we will be travelling up to denver, is the mileage fees still worth while?

    I noticed we will be there on Independence Day. Any place to recommend? Fireworks?

    Thanks a million!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default They Know

    Yes, they'll know where the car is at all times through a GPS tracking device. If you were to take the car, with the contract restrictions you state, to Denver you would technically be stealing the car and they would be well within their rights to have it impounded and you arrested. Similarly I note that you say "We will be renting under his name.". Again, if only his name appears on the contract, only he can drive it. If you do, you will be stealing the vehicle. This is not something you want to be cute about and try to get away with.

    AZBuck

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default liability

    In addition to the things Buck mentioned, if you were to drive without being listed on the rental contract or if you drove outside the limits listed on the contract, you would be 100% liable out of pocket for any problems or accidents. Any insurance that you would otherwise have would be void because you would be driving a stolen car. Even a minor parking lot fender bender could create a situation where you could end up in jail, be forced to pay cash for any and all damage (even if you are not at fault), and be dealing with a situation where you would never be able to return to the United States.

    Simply put, if you want to drive you need to be on the rental contract - even if that means paying an extra fee, and if you want to drive to Denver, you can't rent from a company that won't allow you to take the car past Nevada.

  8. Default Tks for the advice!

    Thanks for all the advice and swift response.

    Any advice on the Independence Day holiday?

    Is it true that rental companies in the city are cheaper than at the airport and there is no one-way fee if the return location is also in CA for major rental companies.

    We are thinking to cover SF either at the start or at the end. If it is cheaper to rent in the city then we might do SF first, rent a car for the road trip then return it to SFO.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,937

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kangkang View Post
    Is it true that rental companies in the city are cheaper than at the airport and there is no one-way fee if the return location is also in CA for major rental companies.
    There does not seem to be any consistency. The best thing is to check out several locations for each company, and see what the quote comes up with. When I was wanting to rent in SF last year, I found that 40 miles south of the city in (Santa Clara) was cheapest (30% less than the airport) and the airport was the most expensive.

    I have never paid a one way fee when picking up in SF and dropping off in LA. Not sure about other locations. You'd have to check each one, I think.

    Lifey who always rents from Budget

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default shopping around

    As far as the drop off fee goes, its not too uncommon to see the fee waived if you are traveling within California, such as SF to LA, and even sometimes SF to Vegas. However, this is by no means a universal thing. You need to see what the policy of each individual company is. In fact, its entirely possible that the policy can be different even at different locations with the same company.

    Pricing too, is something you really need to shop around with. Sometimes it will be cheaper to rent at the airport, sometimes it will be cheaper to rent into town. And again, shop around between the different companies, because of all of these differences, you can usually find a pretty good deal if you are looking hard enough.

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