Turo Takeover: Hawaii residents utilize car-sharing platform amid car rental shortage

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Hawaii Tourism Authority says Hawaii’s rental car fleet is down 40%.

Many visitors and kama’aina are now turning to the largest car-sharing service, Turo.

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“I listed my RAV4 and within two months, I am completely booked out until January,” said Kahili Kaihewalu Tianio, a Turo host.

Maui resident Kahili Kaihewalu Tianio is also a Turo host.

“You can set your prices based on the year of the car based on the trim of the car based on what kind of amenities you have to offer,” said Tianio.

Hosts must also chose a Turo insurance plan, in addition to setting prices.

“We do have insurance coverage. We also pay a percentage to have that coverage in the event that anything does happen, we are covered,” Tianio said.

For those looking to rent, just log onto the site and click on an available vehicle and book the trip.

“You get to pick what you want to drive and where you want to drive. You can look at reviews of the host,” said Tianio.

Tianio tells KHON2 that she makes up to $3,000 per month as a host.

“Last week, we bought two more cars to add to our fleet and it’s it’s been really successful,” Tianio said

She is not alone. Ryan Costello from Hawaii Island has worked with Turo since 2017. He makes over six figures every year.

“It’s been really hectic and I got about 20 calls a day from people just looking for cars,” said Costello.

Turo hosts have to pay taxes, as with any income. The State tax office says they also have to register with the Department.

“If they do rent the car themselves, they have to pay the rental car surcharge like any other rental company,” said Isaac Choy, the State of Hawaii Director of Taxation. “If they use a platform, they become wholesalers and pay the wholesale rate.”

The State is continuing to work on a fix for the car rental shortage.

“The Governor is acutely aware of the rental car shortage. It did come up at the last cabinet meeting and director McCartney is looking into the problem,” Choy said.

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