Travelocity’s Second National Rental Car Study Uncovers Rising Taxes at Airport Locations, Considers Taxes at Neighborhood Locations for the First Time

2005 Study Rates Airports in Terms of Sticker Shock and Compares Taxes When Renting Cars On-Airport Vs. Locally

SOUTHLAKE, Texas, Mar 29, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) — After first revealing major discrepancies from total versus quoted rental car prices in 2003, an updated Travelocity study examining added rental car taxes (which, for the purposes of the study, include government imposed fees such as facility charges, stadium initiatives, etc.) has discovered that sticker shock on the whole has slightly worsened and that consumers can save on the amount of extra taxes they pay by renting at a local outlet rather than at the airport.

The new study from Travelocity(R) shows that the average taxes added to base rates for car rentals at major U.S. airports has increased from 24.4 percent in 2003 to 25.8 percent in 2005. These added taxes are imposed by local and state governments and are aimed at drawing income from travelers in order to fund local projects. Travelocity’s 2005 research findings also showed such taxes to be dramatically lower at neighborhood car rental locations than airport locations, averaging only 14.1 percent of the final cost.

“Consumers want as few surprises as possible when they are on the road with a fixed budget,” said Tracey Weber, senior vice president of air, car and last minute deals for Travelocity. “Therefore, it’s important that travelers research the price of the rental inclusive of all taxes using services like our award-winning TotalPrice(SM) for Cars which Travelocity first introduced in 2002. By exploring all of their options consumers may find a significant difference between airport and neighborhood car rental rates and taxes.”

Among the study’s key findings:

Texas Still Tops at Airports; California, New York Lower: Texas still leads the nation in terms of sticker shock, having four of the top 10 airports with the largest difference between base rate and total price. The average taxes at top Texas airports decreased from the 2003 findings, from 51.7 percent to 47.1 percent. Houston’s Bush Intercontinental continues to lead not only Texas, but the nation overall in airport taxes, adding 66.1 percent to the base rate of the rental car, but lower than 2003, where taxes averaged 71.7 percent. Because California and New York include such taxes in the daily rates, cities in those two states were prominent throughout the top 10 list of airports with the least sticker shock. At Orange County airport, add-ons equaled 7.7 percent, which was the lowest among the top 100 airports.

10 Airports in 2005 with Largest Jump in Price Between Daily Base Rate
and the Total Amount Due at Airport Locations (averages include the
top 100 U.S. airports):

Airport                                       Percentage Jump in Price
1. Houston George Bush Intercontinental                  66.1%
2. Dallas/Fort Worth International                       61.4%
3. Phoenix                                               52.3%
4. Austin Bergstrom                                      49.9%
5. Kansas City                                           45.4%
6. San Antonio                                           42.4%
7. Baltimore/Washington International                    41.0%
8. Tulsa                                                 40.3%
9. Cleveland                                             39.0%
10. Albuquerque                                          38.9%

10 Airports in 2005 with Lowest Jump in Price Between Daily Base Rate
and the Total Amount Due at Airport Locations (averages include the
top 100 U.S. airports):

Airport                                       Percentage Jump in Price
1. Orange County                                          7.7%
2. Palm Springs                                           7.8%
3. Sacramento                                             7.8%
4. Fresno                                                 7.9%
5. Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena                              8.2%
6. Long Beach                                             8.3%
7. Los Angeles (LAX)                                      8.3%
8. Albany                                                13.2%
9. Buffalo/Niagara                                       13.3%
10. Syracuse                                             13.4%

Neighborhood Rental Locations Offer More Clarity: Neighborhood rental locations are the fastest growing segment in the rental car industry leaving consumers with several more options to choose from when renting. In addition to the convenience of accessing a neighborhood location close to home or work, taxes at neighborhood locations were usually lower than or equal to airport locations nationwide. Travelocity’s findings show Honolulu as the only city where neighborhood taxes are considerably higher — 12.8 percent — versus taxes at airport locations.

10 Cities with Highest Jump in Price Between Daily Base Rate and Total
Amount Due at Neighborhood Locations (cities were from top 100 US

City                                          Percentage Jump in Price
1. Minneapolis                                           30.1%
2. Honolulu                                              30.1%
3. San Antonio                                           29.5%
4. Austin                                                28.6%
5. Houston                                               27.5%
6. Seattle                                               26.6%
7. Phoenix                                               26.5%
8. Reno/Tahoe                                            25.6%
9. El Paso                                               24.7%
10. Ft. Lauderdale                                       24.4%

10 Cities with Lowest Jump in Price Between Daily Base Rate and Total
Amount Due at Neighborhood Locations (cities were from top 100 US

City                                          Percentage Jump in Price
1. Boise, Idaho                                           4.7%
2. Kahului - Maui                                         4.9%
3. Burlington, Vt.                                        6.8%
4. Birmingham, Ala.                                       7.2%
5. Santa Ana, Calif. (Orange County)                      7.4%
6. St. Louis (Lambert)                                    7.5%
7. Palm Springs, Calif.                                   7.8%
8. Sacramento, Calif.                                     7.8%
9. San Diego, Calif.                                      7.8%
10. Dayton, Ohio                                          7.9%

“Rental car taxes can change considerably from city to city,” said Amy Ziff, Travelocity’s editor-at-large. “Whether traveling for business or pleasure, smart travelers will research rates with all of the taxes and government fees presented upfront using services like TotalPrice for Car before making a reservation.”

Greatest Difference in Taxes at Airports vs. Neighborhood Locations: The 2005 study discovered that taxes, on the whole, are lower at neighborhood locations. In Dallas/Fort Worth for instance, consumers can save 44.3 percent on taxes by renting at a neighborhood car rental location. Because of the higher taxes charged at airports, six of Travelocity’s top 10 airports with discrepancies between the quoted and total price also had the largest difference in taxes at airports versus neighborhood locations.

10 Cities with Largest Difference in Daily Base Rate and Total Price
at Airport Vs. Neighborhood Locations (averages include the top 100
U.S. airports):

Airport                                         Percentage Difference
1. Dallas/Fort Worth                           44.3% (61.4% vs. 17.1%)
2. Houston (Bush Intercontinental)             38.6% (66.1% vs. 27.5%)
3. Kansas City                                 36.1% (45.4% vs. 9.3%)
4. Cleveland                                   30.3% (39.0% vs. 8.7%)
5. Dayton                                      27.9% (35.8% vs. 7.9%)
6. Phoenix                                     25.8% (52.3% vs. 26.5%)
7. Tulsa                                       24.8% (40.3% vs. 15.5%)
8. Jackson, Miss.                              24.2% (35.2% vs. 11.0%)
9. Richmond, Va.                               23.4% (34.1% vs. 10.7%)
10. St. Louis (Lambert)                        21.8% (29.3% vs. 7.5%)

Travelocity expanded its neighborhood rental options last year, providing car rental shoppers with more than 20,000 airport and neighborhood locations across the world. It also guarantees that the total price quoted is within one percent of the price given during the booking process, otherwise, it will pay the difference back to the consumer.

A complete analysis of Travelocity’s findings at each of the 100 airports researched can be found at

About the Travelocity Car Rate Study

The Travelocity study was fielded in December 2004. Three lowest-priced, full-size cars and three lowest-priced, compact cars for a three-day period (April 7-10, 2005) were priced at all airports and nearby neighborhood rental car locations. A comparison was made to determine a weighted average difference. The airport list was taken from the top 100 airports in the United States in terms of passengers, according to Airports Council International.

About Travelocity

Travelocity’s industry-leading technology and straight-talking, honest information help travelers take more rewarding and affordable trips. With millions of registered users and booking $4.9 billion of travel in 2004, Travelocity(R) negotiates thousands of low-priced deals with the world’s most reputable travel providers — top airlines, hotels, car rental companies, cruise lines, and other destination attractions and services. Additionally, Travelocity offers deeply-discounted rates for weekend getaways and dynamic packages through its Last Minute Deals and TotalTrip(SM) shopping engines, and provides customer service support over the phone 24 hours a day. Based in Southlake, Texas, Travelocity also operates Travelocity Business(SM) for corporate customers, powers international travel Web sites in eight languages, and has been recognized for its consumer advocacy and global leadership in online travel. More information about Travelocity is available at Travelocity is owned by Sabre Holdings Corporation (NYSE:TSG), a world leader in travel commerce. More information about Sabre Holdings is available at

SOURCE: Travelocity

Vollmer Public Relations
Judy Haveson, 212-554-7425
Chintan Talati, 972-488-4790