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Why are rental cars so expensive?

Sydney, Australia
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Why are rental cars so expensive?

Hi there

Australian traveling to Wyoming in May and i've stumbled across what seems to be an anomaly...

I am looking at hiring a car for 4 days from Cody Regional Airport and driving to Missoula, Montana (400 miles). When I search all available car rental websites the price is extortionate! Approximately AUD$1200 for the smallest compact car there is. This cannot be right, surely?

To hire a car from Cody and return to Cody is cheaper but still up there, approximately AUD$650.

Any advice will be much appreciated!

Bree

Edited: 15 November 2016, 08:36
Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: Why are rental cars so expensive?

It is a very small airport with limited rental cars. Always way more expensive than Bozeman, Billings or even Jackson.

Spery, Iowa
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2. Re: Why are rental cars so expensive?

Cody is a small airport, with limited options. Bigger airports, Billings for example, have more use and a bigger variety. You have to compare, check both flights and car rental on one-way fees. Sometimes a one-way is better in one direction than the other, if you plans are not yet set, check ALL options. There is something about international travelers booking, but I can't remember what that tip is, someone will be alone that knows more!

Spery, Iowa
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3. Re: Why are rental cars so expensive?

Peach is faster typing, lol

Georgia
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4. Re: Why are rental cars so expensive?

Supply and demand

N. Idaho
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for Yellowstone National Park
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5. Re: Why are rental cars so expensive?

In addition to what thbergs and PeachBelle say, this is probably a locally owned car rental franchise. They would have to pay for someone (or 2 someones) to drive to Missoula to pick up *their* car, so would lose the services of 2 employees for a full day as they drive over and back. I believe a number of people have posted this same issue with car rentals in both Cody and West Yellowstone.

I would not fly in to Cody. Hopefully it is not too late and you can change your reservation to one of the bigger airports such as Bozeman or Billings.

BTW, you didn't ask, but May can be very early for Yellowstone. If you are coming the last weekend of the month that is fine altho you might run in to some wintry weather. If you are coming earlier in May you may run in to roads not being open yet.

Pam

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: Why are rental cars so expensive?

Wow thank you all for all the quick responses!

I am going to stay at a horse ranch in Shell, WY for a week but haven't booked my flights yet. Getting to the ranch is hard enough from both Cody or Billings!

So maybe I should look at car rentals from Billings and compare..

And thank you Pam for the Yellowstone weather info - I don't mind if it's a bit cold, it;s a bit of a novelty for us Aussies ;)

Bree

Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: Why are rental cars so expensive?

I just noticed you said that roads may not be open early May - I am planning on doing a little sight seeing after visiting the ranch so would be mid-May.. I really appreciate the heads up - more research for me to do by the look of it :)

N. Idaho
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8. Re: Why are rental cars so expensive?

Here is a link to when the Entrance gates and roads open within Yellowstone:

https:/…parkroads.htm

Here is a link for when services open in Yellowstone:

https:/…ocd_locale.htm

Here is another link which gives the road closures for the 2016 season. Things may or may not be like this next year.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60999…

Were you also planning to go to Glacier? (assuming that since you are going to turn the car in at Missoula) Please check with the Glacier forum folks on the status of roads in May. The big scenic road, Going to the Sun Highway, doesn't open until the end of June or in bad snow years, in July.

I would definitely look at Billings for an arrival. The Billings to Shell drive would not be bad...probably in the neighborhood of 2.5 hours in good weather.

Pam

Sydney, Australia
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9. Re: Why are rental cars so expensive?

Thank you!!

Yes I was definitely planning on driving up to Missoula for that reason. I just had a look and I might just scrape in with the Glacier National Park opening dates for 2017. However I think i might run out of time to do both Yellowstone and Glacier in 5 days if I have to drive in and out of Billings instead of Cody :(

Thanks again, Bree

Edited: 15 November 2016, 09:46
N. Idaho
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10. Re: Why are rental cars so expensive?

Driving in and out of Billings will actually save you some time coming back from Glacier over having to drive back to Cody. When you are looking at driving times, be aware that within Yellowstone googlemaps times are inaccurate.

For instance from the North gate at Gardiner to the Fishing Bridge junction it's 54 miles/108 minutes/just under 2 hours. From Fishing Bridge out to Cody is another 2 hours.

If you've only got 5 days, I'd suggest spending your time seeing Yellowstone and Grand Tetons if your time works so the South entrance gate is open. It opens the 2nd Friday of May, weather permitting.

The drive from Glacier to Yellowstone or Billings is a full day's drive.

Pam

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