I recently rented a cargo van from U-Haul. While reviewing the agreement, I noticed a $1 charge for an “Environmental Fee.” I asked the clerk to explain, and he pointed to a page that bragged about the $20 million that U-Haul has generously “donated” to environmental initiatives. Then the clerk printed a page for me that started with “What is the $5 Environmental Fee.” It read:
The Customer money collected as an environmental fee is expended to reduce the negative impact of our business on future generations. Aerodynamic fuel saving truck skirts, the fuel economy gauge, storage re-use centers, environmentally friendly truck wash soap, are examples of where these funds go.
So, let’s review. U-Haul touts a simple $19.95 per day van rental, which eventually totaled $53. Part of those extra fees they collected from me were called Environmental Fees that included money donated – in the name of U-Haul – as well as money spent internally to improve their fleet of trucks.
Isn’t that nice of them?