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.
> 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
> 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?)
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.
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!
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").
> 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.
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.