Cost and Effect



A handy new site called Moblu will calculate fuel costs for a road trip with multiple stops. It estimates my fuel costs for the east-to-west leg of the trip will be $391.98. Even cooler, you can tweet your fill-ups using an easy format (odometer reading, price per volume, volume of fuel purchased) and the site will keep track of your actual gas mileage as you drive. (You can also track your carbon footprint, but this is boring enough as it is.) Anyway, handy! I like to think I’ll actually do this on the road, but only time will tell. Seems more likely I’ll scribble odometer readings on scraps of paper that quickly become lost in my burrito-wrapper nest on wheels.

In other egads-long-road-trips-can-actually-be-kinda-expensive news, apparently car rental costs are skyrocketing. When I booked my economy rental about a month ago, I ended up paying $1550 for about 12 weeks, which works out to about $130 a week. I found the best rate on, then supplemented it with a $50 coupon. It seemed like a great deal at the time, but now I wonder if prices last year were even better.:

In mid-June, weekly airport rental rates for a compact car averaged $347.44, compared with $210.38 a year ago — a 65 percent jump. “There’s a lot of sticker shock,” said Neil Abrams, president of the consulting group. “People don’t understand. The economy is caving around them,” he said, adding, “so how is it possible that rates are as high as they are for car rentals?”

The reason is basic supply and demand. Although demand for car rentals is down — by roughly 15 percent, according to Mr. Abrams — rental agencies have cut their fleets by even more, essentially creating their own shortage and jacking up prices.

New York Times: The Soaring Cost of Car Rentals
Moblu: Moblu


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