How to find a one way ride for the cost of gas

Free One Way Car Rental

by Debra Karplus

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According to Auto Rental News, in 2011, auto rental companies in the United States earned over 22 billion dollars in revenues from renting vehicles to individuals and families for business or personal use. That is great news if you are in the car rental business but not such a good report if you are family or an individual who rents cars once in a while or more often than that. Yes, renting a vehicle is big business. In 2013, Forbes Magazine stated that vehicle rentals can range from $72 to $125 daily, depending on the size and type of the vehicle and the location where you rent, plus the renter's expense of gasoline. But there is a cheap way to use a vehicle; in fact, if you drive a one-way vehicle for a vehicle delivery service company, you may be able to transport the vehicle at no cost to you, maybe just for the cost of fuel, but not for the vehicle itself. That may sound too good to be true, but in this case, it is not! It's the real deal and one definitely worth exploring.

How does driving a one way vehicle work?

Suppose your family would like to take a train or plane trip across the country, but does not want travel in that same mode for the return trip, just to keep your journey interesting. A one way road trip would give you some flexibility on scheduling and to spontaneously see some unusual attractions, especially those a bit off the beaten track. A one-way vehicle is probably exactly what you need.

Search online using key words "auto drive away," "vehicle relocation service," "car delivery service," or something similar, and you will find several companies that rent vehicles one-way for a relatively steep price, but these same companies will provide the vehicle to you for just the cost of gas if you drive it back. Auto Driveaway and Move Cars are just a few companies that do this. Move Cars actually is a link to car delivery companies in your area. Typically they have cars of different sizes, vans, trucks, motor homes and recreational vehicles, and some have motorcycles. Specify what you want and see what is available.

Who can use this free service?

If you will be travelling in the United States or Canada, these services may be available to you. Valid identification is obviously required. Your age may be a factor; usually 23 is the minimum age to drive a one-way. Your driving record is also very important. Each company will specify these and other requirements. Different restrictions and rules may apply depending on the distance you will be driving and the location.

Expect to pay a deposit of approximately $400 depending on the company that you work with. This will be refunded back to you when you return the car, clean and intact with a full tank of gas.

What type of vehicle can you expect to drive?

Searching on the Auto Driveaway website, one can find that they are located in most states in the US. At the time of this writing, if you were going from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Dallas, Texas, you could drive for free a Cadillac Deville with no rush on delivery. Or possibly, you want to drive from Alexandria, Virginia in the Washington DC area to San Francisco, California. Currently, a 2008 BMW sedan is available including a $100 fuel allowance. Not a bad deal!

Truthfully, if you are cast-your-cares-to-the-wind sort of person with a case of the wanderlust and are not a planner, you could spontaneously throw together an exciting travel itinerary based on what vehicle is available when you get the urge to take off, such as the unspecified vehicle year, make, or model that is ready to go "right now" from San Diego, California to Cliffwood, New Jersey. There's likely much to explore both at this destination and along the way.

No matter what mode of transportation you and your family use when taking a well-deserved vacation, using a vehicle delivery service to transport a car or van one way for free is certainly worth checking out. With a bit of flexibility on your part, driving one-way could contribute to a memorable family vacation.

Debra is an occupational therapist, accountant, teacher and freelance writer. She is a writer for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners. She also writes for Grand Magazine, has some items (fiction and non fiction) selling on (kindle), has written several travel articles for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and several articles for and volunteers as a money mentor for the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension money mentoring program. Learn more about her at

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