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Car Rentals Smoking Policy Can Cost You Money

Car Rentals Smoking Policy Can Cost You Money
In 2009, Avis Rent a Car and Budget Rent a Car began charging $250 for smoking in their fleet of rental cars. When this controversial policy went into effect, smokers and non-smokers alike held their breath to see what would happen. Now we know.

Smoking is expensive enough and can already damage your budget in various ways. Not only are the cigarettes themselves expensive, but they can cause life-threatening and catastrophically expensive healthcare costs. Smokers pay more for term life insurance rates too. Now they’re paying for smoking in rental cars too.

Non-Smoking Policies Expanding

More car companies are following suit. Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, another major rental car company, has now begun their own $250 charge campaign to curb smoking in their cars. This means you can now safely choose these car companies to avoid the scents of stale cigarette smoke. But it also means that if you are a smoker, take extra care not to smoke in rental cars. Maybe a little sticker on the dashboard or on your pack of smokes will help remind you not to smoke and might prevent that hefty fine.

Smoke Free Rentals…Maybe

Other major car rental companies like Alamo and Enterprise have said their cars are smoke free, but they don’t have this $250 policy in place to help make sure the cars are indeed smoke free. Nor is it entirely clear just how good the inspections are at catching smokers–or even if the inspections are checking for recent smoking at all. So you won’t be guaranteed a smoke free car if you try these companies, which may or may not be what you want depending on whether you smoke or not.

Enforcing Non-Smoking Policies

But how are companies like Budget enforcing their $250 policy? Inspections can usually pick up whether or not the recent renter has been smoking. A quick sniff test can do the trick usually, but smoking leaves other telltale signs behind. A residue of all the little particles that come out in exhaled cigarette smoke and that drop off the end of the burning butt also make a mess of the car interior. They even go so far as to train inspectors with equipment that detects these smoking particles. By keeping track of inspections, they will know if a renter smoked. All of the damage to the interior of the car causes the rental car company to take more effort and time to clean a car whenever someone has been smoking in it. In addition, the car company has to pull the car from their fleet of available vehicles until the scent and the smoking residue has been cleaned up. During this time, they can’t rent the car out, which means they are missing potential profits.

These reasons are why the charges are being levied. After all, someone has to clean things up, and it probably isn’t going to be the person causing the damage to begin with. This wouldn’t even be possible because the average person renting a car isn’t going to have several weeks of time, a cleaning kit, or an aerosol can full of scent-destroying ozone to tackle the smoke odor. This means professionals working for the car company will have to do the cleaning.

So, if you’re a smoker, you now know which car companies to avoid–or at least be very careful while driving their cars–and if you’re a non-smoker, you know which rental car companies have smoke-free interiors to fit your lifestyle. Hope this helps! provides money-saving advice and life insurance information for families seeking to protect the financial well-being of their families.

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