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I am going to visit Norway this September. The idea is to rent a car somewhere around Bergen or Stavanger. Then drive north to see Nordkapp and finally return the car at the Tromso airport.

I checked a number of car rental websites to estimate the rental price. I attached a screenshot of an exemplary reservation. enter image description here

What shocked me was one-way fees which constitute 75% of the final rental price. Do you know how to reduce those fees? Is there any company that do not charge that much?

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    For certain routes, you are essentially paying someone to transport the car back.
    – xngtng
    Jan 22 at 17:49
  • FWIW the same thing would happen in the US unless you happen to be asking for a direction that they want the car to go.
    – Damila
    Jan 23 at 3:02
  • Nitpick: It's more like 55% of the final price (~zł4100 out of ~zł7500.) Jan 24 at 1:48
  • An option I once used when confronted with a similarly large one-way surcharge was to buy an old but taxed car in my home town, drive it for a week, and then sell it at the far end. My bank provides me with breakdown cover on any car, and I wasn't doing anything urgent where a delay would more than slightly inconvenient. I was able to get a cheap short-term insurance policy without difficulty. It worked out about a third of the price of cheapest one-way hire I could find. Harder in an unfamiliar country, I'm sure, but perhaps worth a thought? Jan 28 at 22:18

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Most travel pricing these days is based on supply and demand and not on actual cost. The exact same airplane seat, car, or hotel room can vary by a LOT depedning on what the provider thinks they can get. I've seen a the price for a regular Holiday Inn that typically costs around $100/night go up to over $1500 (that's a factor of over 15!)

There is not a whole lot a you can do about it other than "shopping around". Try different dates, different providers and or/different locations.

Unfortunately, there is no rhyme or reason for pricing, so "trial and error" is the way to go. Some things that I have observed

  1. Sometimes picking up a car in town is much cheaper than picking it up in the airport.
  2. Local providers can be much cheaper than the big chains (observed in Mexico, Iceland). This might be tricky with one way, though.
  3. A 4 day rental can be substantially cheaper than a 3 day rental. You just have to make sure that there is no "early return penalty" that some companies actually do have (observed in Germany & Netherlands).
  4. Go through a third party provider (observed in Germany). Last time in Germany I went with check24.de which was less than half the price than booking the same car on Enterprise's website. Given the massive price difference I was worried about this, but it went great: Enterprise even had my frequent driver number on the booking and gave my a nice upgrade.

Just one more example on how crazy this all is: I had rented a car for about 10 days or so and needed to extend it by a single day. The provider quoted a price for this extra day that was extortionary high. Fortunately I was at some point close to the rental place so I just dropped it off a few days early and managed to get a refund for the remaining days. This refund more than paid for new rental with a different provider that included the extra day. So I ended up with a "free" extension, more money in my pocket and a nicer car.

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    Sometimes turning the route around can help with the drop off costs, sometimes even so much that the rental gets basically free (I am told, never seen it.)
    – Willeke
    Jan 23 at 16:31
  • I got a much "better" vehicle in renting from Lubbock TX to Dallas one time because they wanted the giant pickup truck transported. Price was subcompact with no surcharge for one-way. Of course I had to pay for the fuel. Common one-way rentals like LA<->SF may have less or no surcharge, depending. Jan 23 at 22:34

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