• maxkwallace 96 days ago

    The problem with this article is that it doesn't go into detail about what the "taxes and fees" pay for, aside from airport surcharges. Without knowing that it's impossible to determine who should be paying for what.

    Airport surcharges should just be a toll gate (E-ZPass) when you enter and exit the airport. Same for roads, ideally. A single fee schedule for everyone.

    Parking shouldn't be free. Someone with 3 cars on Turo shouldn't be penalized any more than someone with 3 cars who doesn't rent them on Turo and just leaves them parked most of the time.

    I use Turo and Getaround. With Turo, I always end up meeting or interacting with the car owner. I'm not renting luxury vehicles, but in my experience the owners are always regular middle-class people. From what I've seen, "Tesla fleet" Jason Chan from this article is not representative of the average Turo renter. Except perhaps in niche luxury markets, Turo rentals won't be massively profitable because renters are competing against Zipcar, Enterprise, Uber, etc. and there is maintenance, cleaning, depreciation, etc. you have to handle for the cars.

    I think we can all agree that regulations and taxes should be fairly and equitably applied. I'm fine with my Turo charges going up to comply with this. But I don't think this article is very balanced. It spends a lot of time talking about Turo without acknowledging the massive inefficiencies in traditional car rental business models, as well as the big difference in customer experience.

    • eropple 96 days ago

      > I think we can all agree that regulations and taxes should be fairly and equally applied.

      I get what you mean, so this is not a dunk on you, the words "fairly" and "equally" are at odds in this sentence. "Equally" implies a steady disinterest in marginal utility and situational value; it's where we get Anatole France's "the law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread." I would suggest "equitably" over "equally".

      I agree with the general thrust of your point. But this is the door through which nasty shit sometimes sneaks.

      • maxkwallace 96 days ago

        Thank you for that! I completely agree with your comment, and I appreciate the attention to detail. I'll edit my post to change "equally" to "equitably" in that sentence.

      • smt88 96 days ago

        Counterpoint/anecdote: I stopped using Turo because every single car owner was a shady "entrepreneur" with 5+ cars. The car was often dirty, and some of the pickup locations were weird and scary (like an empty underground parking garage).

        I get roughly the same pricing from big car companies anyway.

      • hn_throwaway_99 96 days ago

        I certainly have no love list for the big rental car companies, but I don't see any logical reason why I should have to pay additional taxes and fees when renting from Hertz but not GetAround or Turo.

        The article didn't go into it that much, is the current issue that Turo is arguing that, as just a "platform", that hosts are the ones responsible for taxes and fees and they're just not collecting or paying them? Similar to what AirBnB said in the early days? Because I don't understand why existing laws would apply only for traditional rentals but not peer-to-peer rentals.

        • kevin_b_er 96 days ago

          These companies are very much about externalizing the cost. They externalize cost onto the public for what is free pickup/dropoff of friends/family. They externalize the cost of maintenance and insurance onto the owners. They externalize the cost of public parking area to "store" the cars when not in use.

          What you most often are looking at is corporations exploiting benefits to the public for their profit.

          • sct202 96 days ago

            There's a guy in my city who is apparently parking 40 turos by his house and using up a lot of the street parking to do it.

            • freewilly1040 96 days ago

              This is a flaw caused by unlimited free on street parking, a zoning flaw that needs to be fixed

              • AlexandrB 96 days ago

                So instead of regulating a multi-million dollar “startup” we should regulate everyone else instead.

                • arcticbull 96 days ago

                  I guess so, yeah. Free parking is a tax on everyone, but especially the lower class. This happens because the extra space needed raises the cost of goods, of adjacent property, and so on. The poorest and those without their own cars have to pay for it too. Regardless of why we're looking into it now, it is a problem, and we should address it. [1]

                  [1] https://www.vox.com/2014/6/27/5849280/why-free-parking-is-ba...

                • yeahitslikethat 96 days ago

                  There should be no street parking when it removes a lane from traffic. seems an awful waste of space for one car that could be used to move vehicles.

                  • smt88 96 days ago

                    In old neighborhoods like mine, most people don't have driveways. I've found that this is most common in the oldest US cities, like Philadelphia.

                • Analemma_ 96 days ago

                  The city ought to tow and impound all of them at once. Last time my car got towed it cost me $250 to get it back; this guy might shape up real quick if he suddenly gets a $4,000 bill to get his cars back, not to mention the time spent running around to how many different tow lots.

                  • AlexandrB 96 days ago

                    This sounds like a nightmare. Not to mention the possible safety issues as this “fleet” starts to age.

                • xvedejas 96 days ago

                  Why should you have to pay taxes for either? Why is renting a car something that should have extra penalties over owning one? As someone who doesn't own a car anymore (as a lifestyle choice) I'm now noticing many hidden things in the US which benefit car-owners to the detriment of the car-free.

                  • josephorjoe 96 days ago

                    Completely agree. All the extra fees and hassle around car rentals are why I eventually bought a car, even though I really only need it sporadically -- mostly for vacations.

                    I think the taxes on rental cars are often a type of "tourist tax". Politicians seem to find it easy to approve taxes on people who can't vote in their reelection campaigns.

                    • kop316 96 days ago

                      To provide a counterpoint, local taxes pay for a lot of local things. So why should a tourist benefit from a bunch of things that they did not pay for? A tourist tax is a way to make sure they are paying their share of it.

                      • m_samuel_l 96 days ago

                        Rental car tax applies to locals as well, though.

                        • coredog64 96 days ago

                          ISTR my state has an exclusion for local residents. I don’t believe the exclusion applies at rentals at the airport. I wouldn’t be surprised to find most states have rental car/hotel tax exclusions for locals.

                        • chii 96 days ago

                          benefits like clean air and good roads don't cost more when a tourist arrives.

                          A tourist also pays taxes from VAT and other sources,but do not benefit from them. So it evens out I presume.

                          But tourist tend to generate economic activity. A benefit that locals would want more of. The taxes a tourist pay is disencentivizing.

                          • bherms 96 days ago

                            I would argue that they actually do... More people coming in and using roads and moving around contribute to the deterioration of the roads and more pollution.

                            • coredog64 96 days ago

                              Regular motor vehicles don’t do nearly as much harm to the roads as OTR trucks, yet we subsidize those for the benefits they bring...

                              • NeutronStar 96 days ago

                                And they pay the gas tax that pays for road maintenance.

                      • mtw 96 days ago

                        The article takes the example of airport pickup. Traditional rental companies pay for a premium space, staff. With Turo, most people agree on a precise time and location pickup. For example, I'll be outside gate XX at 4:15pm, meet me there with the black Toyota Camry. This means the person renting out can drive and arrive there at 4:15pm, and just hand out keys. That person didn't pay a fee to be outside the gate, like many other people who welcome friends and family.

                        So traditional rental companies are pissed off because they have to pay for the space.

                      • brogrammernot 96 days ago

                        Rental car companies have refused to adapt or change their model for many years. They’re built upon antiquated systems with the thought that they could never be touched, and to be blunt I don’t feel much sympathy for them.

                        They’ve been approached numerous times with more innovative uses of their fleet and they’ve turned up their noses so many times at it because they felt they didn’t have to change.

                        • username223 96 days ago

                          > Steven Webb, Turo’s director of communications, says that 95 percent of the platform’s hosts rent out three or fewer vehicles.

                          Three or fewer, like the guy his own mini-fleet of two Tesla 3s and an X mentioned earlier in the article? I doubt many people have 3 cars to "share" without having bought at least one purely as a rental. And how many people can afford to buy/lease more than 3 vehicles for their fleets? I'll bet that 95% would be much lower if we looked at "one or two vehicles" instead.

                          These negative-externality-based "Uber/Airbnb for X" companies are getting ridiculous. Has someone started one for prescription drugs yet? "We're not a pharmacy, we're just a platform facilitating transactions between patients and independent drug contractors." (Or was that Silk Road's business model?)

                          • RcouF1uZ4gsC 96 days ago

                            >(Turo takes a 25 percent cut on each transaction.)

                            Let's at least stop using "sharing" to describe what these companies do.

                            • capsulecorp 96 days ago

                              No lets not, the term makes perfect sense how its being used. It has absolutely nothing to do with how much of a cut the business takes, not sure where you picked up that impression but its not correct.

                              • yeahitslikethat 96 days ago

                                If you share something, you don't charge. If you charge, it's called renting.

                                They are implying benevolence when there is none. Especially on the part of the hucksters.

                                • capsulecorp 96 days ago

                                  That is incorrect, it may be what your kindergarten teacher taught you was the nice thing to do, but it doesn't make it the definition of the word.

                                  share /SHer/ verb 1.have a portion of (something) with another or others. "he shared the pie with her"

                                  synonyms:split, divide, go halves in/with;

                                  edit: seems like a lot of people have the same misconception that sharing implies free of charge, here is a link to the definition for those who are unfamiliar: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/share

                                  • yeahitslikethat 96 days ago


                                    verb 1. pay someone for the use of (something, typically property, land, or a car). "they rented a house together in Spain" synonyms: hire, lease, charter

                                    I'd say rent is a better word. Because you're paying. Share definition says nothing about paying. Plus, when you share, the other party keeps what was shared. Otherwise it's borrowing.

                                    Words have meanings for a reason.

                                    • capsulecorp 94 days ago

                                      >Words have meanings for a reason.

                                      Yep and just because you don't like them doesn't mean you can change them. Share is being used correctly and you have a massive misunderstanding thinking that it has something to do with the company profit, but it doesn't. Not interested in continuing discourse with someone who is willfully ignorant, go believe what you want I couldn't care less. Cheers!

                                  • askafriend 96 days ago

                                    You're arguing semantics. There's no point to it in this case. There's nothing of value to be gained by arguing semantics. It's just a word and it's allowed to take on multiple meanings depending on the context.

                                    I don't think anyone is getting confused here at having to pay for use of the car. If people are getting confused and the meaning is being totally lost, then perhaps it's worth arguing semantics (e.g. in the case of "Autopilot").

                              • KingMachiavelli 96 days ago

                                > 4 states pocket excise taxes on rental cars, in addition to standard sales taxes and airport surcharges.

                                Initially, I was going to argue that the existence of random taxes on car rentals and other mostly benign services is already an arbitrary unfair practice for state governments to raise more revenue.

                                Then I looked at my own state's, Colorado's, rental tax - it's $2 on top of sales tax which seems pretty reasonable. $2 seems pretty reasonable and small to the overall rental cost especially when tha artical says they can add up to an extra 30% on the car. Would I be happier if the extranalities of car rentals were collected some other way? Absolutely but I don't think the extra $2 is what car rentals are complaining about.

                                If the users of these apps are cheating and not paying the sales tax and rental tax, then the rental companies have a 100% valid point but I have a hard time thinking they just want these ride sharing/lending apps.

                                On the other hand, I would much rather have no random excise taxes on arbitrary services and more taxes on the actual externalites they produce such as taxes on fuel and conjestion pricing in dense areas.

                                • brogrammernot 96 days ago

                                  $2 per day plus an additional 7.25% tax from Colorado, plus 2.9% sales tax.

                                  This has nothing to do with protecting rental companies and everything to do with states being pissed they aren’t getting their cut.

                                  • KingMachiavelli 96 days ago

                                    My mistake. I'm quite curious as to how the additional 7.25% tax is justified. Perhaps it accounts for taxes that would have otherwised been payed when purchasing a vehical?

                                • johngalt 96 days ago

                                  Rental car companies have more to worry about with ridesharing than any competitors.

                                  • thinkingkong 96 days ago

                                    What a conundrum. If you ask for permission, follow the spirit of the existing regulatory environments, but arent actually breaking any laws then what incentive do you have? You’d just be the foolish one while other companies who don’t jump through all those hoops capture market and mindshare and the regulatory bodies catch up.

                                    • atwebb 96 days ago

                                      >Analysts predict the global market will double in value by 2022 to more than $120 billion.

                                      Double in 3 years? That seems excessive.

                                      • notfromhere 96 days ago

                                        Analyst predictions about global market values are basically made up and shouldn't be used for decisionmaking

                                        • yeahitslikethat 96 days ago

                                          Analyst firms take money from their clients and the vendors they analyze.

                                          They can't be trusted at all.