Can someone explain the Albuquerque rental market to me? [updated]

This is also the best picture the owner could be bothered to take, and yet somehow managed to dupe 11 people into renting this mess.
This is also the best picture the owner could be bothered to take, and yet somehow managed to dupe 11 people into renting this mess.

So instead of driving to New Mexico to visit the Trinity site, we were exploring flying in and renting a car. This seems... less likely as apparently the rental market in that city is insane. Let me show you some of the highlights.

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I started with Kayak, as it is a good benchmark of what is available. Things looked grim immidiatly. I had my pick of a Chevy Spark, a Nissan Versa, or a Toyota Corolla for the SPECIAL RATE of just under $90/ day.

Illustration for article titled Can someone explain the Albuquerque rental market to me? [updated]
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Woof. That is... too much. Pretty sure I could buy and sell a car for that much and pay less in depreciation.

Interesting cars got worse from there, so I moved on to USAA, who usually has some pretty pimp discounts on travel.

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Illustration for article titled Can someone explain the Albuquerque rental market to me? [updated]

Better! But still boring cars for a lot of money. Selecting “premium” also brought up some decidedly non-premium cars.

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Illustration for article titled Can someone explain the Albuquerque rental market to me? [updated]

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think of the Chrysler 200 is “premium”. I’d probably go so far as to put it in economy.

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The “Luxury/ Specialty” category brought the only nice surprise, with Hertz offering a 2-door Wrangler for $90/day. Still way more than I wanted to pay, but better than a Spark.

Illustration for article titled Can someone explain the Albuquerque rental market to me? [updated]
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With options looking grim, I though I might as well give Turo a shot. I’ve looked at their stuff before and not seen anything worth the price, but given what I was seeing here I was (naively) hopeful.

It was all pretty terrible.

2008 Grand Caravan for $70/ day

2014 Chevrolet Captiva for $170/ day

2017 Kia Sorento for $175/ day

Illustration for article titled Can someone explain the Albuquerque rental market to me? [updated]
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So yeah. Either a Sorento OR for $14 more you could get a fucking Boxster. Hmm. Keep in mind this is also before pick-up, dropoff, insurance*, etc...

*Yes I know rental insurance is a huge scam, but last time I checked Turo rentals were not covered by normal coverage usually offered through credit cards and normal car insurance.

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There were some reasonable cars on there, but not many. There was a Spark for $32/ day but at these prices you’d be better off going with one of the big boys.

Out of reasonable options, I did check Santa Fe to see if things were more reasonable there... and they were.

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Illustration for article titled Can someone explain the Albuquerque rental market to me? [updated]

So the question remains: What is going on in Albuquerque?

[UPDATE] As a co-worker and ITA97, is no longer a Texan just pointed out, apparently there is a gigantic balloon festival in Albuquerque that weekend, which explains a lot.

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