A Florida newspaper columnist ranted against car rental taxes and fees on Oct. 24, writing that the rates are so high that they are approaching rates “that used to be the domain of millionaires.”
The column by Michael Mayo in Florida’s Sun-Sentinel, uses Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport as his first example, stating that “You might pay a whopping 55 percent in taxes and fees on top of the base rate, lending whole new meaning to the term sticker shock.”
He goes on to mention the 28 percent in taxes and fees that car renters pay at Palm Beach International Airport.
Checking rental car rates for visiting relatives, Mayo found a 13-day rental at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport at $284, which he thought was fair until he found that the taxes and fees were another $156, or 55 percent of the base rate – bringing the grand total to $440.
He adds that in addition to state sales tax and a $2 daily surcharge that goes to the Florida Department of Transportation for road projects, rental customers must also pay airport and other fees, and that doesn’t include optional extras such as insurance, fuel, toll transponders and multiple drivers.
In the column, Mayo quotes Broward County Commissioner John Rodstrom as saying he thinks the fees and taxes hurt tourism.
Mayo provided a breakdown of the $156 his relatives will soon pay for the rental: a $51.35 customer facility charge; a $3.95-a-day charge to pay for construction and operation of the central rental garage and shuttle buses at the Fort Lauderdale airport; a $36.85, airport concession recovery fee; a $26 state surcharge for road projects; $22.11 in Florida sales tax; a $13, energy recovery fee; and a $6.11 vehicle license fee.
“Perhaps the biggest surprise is how local car rental fees don’t go toward usual tourist tax beneficiaries like convention centers or tourism boards,” the columnist wrote. "Not to give anybody any ideas."