Why Is U-Haul So Expensive in California?

With the current inflation rate, everything from gas to houses to moving is expensive, and U-Haul isn’t making things any easier.

There are several reasons why U-Haul is so expensive in California, including high demand, high cost of living, marketing and branding, the after-effects of the pandemic, and high insurance prices.

People usually move from California to other areas of the United States in summer, making truck maintenance even more expensive.

In this article, we will delve deeply into why U-Haul is expensive in California.

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What contributes to U-Haul’s high prices?

U-Haul has been the leading moving rental company for as long as some of us can remember. Every time someone is moving to a new place, be sure that a U-Haul truck is involved.

Expensive in California

Here are some reasons why U-Haul is so expensive in California.

1. Your Location

U-Haul prices are dynamic and change a lot depending on distance, locations, and neighborhoods.

The company has offices almost everywhere in the United States, which should make things easier for the clients.

However, prices will change depending on demand and whether you reside in an affluent neighborhood.

California is a well-to-do state, and therefore, U-Haul will charge premium prices.

Due to high taxes, unfavorable regulations, and political climate, Californians are moving in huge droves to other states.

This creates a demand that the U-Haul management is more than happy to exploit.

Due to high demands, trucks come empty to California from other destinations to fill the gap. The moving people will compensate for both trips.

U-Haul has massive truck receiving and send-off stations all across the country, and maintaining this huge infrastructure needs lots of money.

Gas and electricity prices have been on the rise for the last couple of years, and the moving Californians have to dig deeper into their pockets to make up for it.

U-Haul charges whatever they want in big Californian cities, which is nothing new because other companies do it all the time.

2. Skyrocketing Demand


Californians move in huge numbers during certain months, and if you plan to move out at that time, be prepared for high U-Haul prices.

For example, demand tends to peak in the month of June. People are so active that everything goes up during summer, including impulse buying, home sales, purchases, and even crime rates.

And it’s not just the U-Haul prices that Californians have to watch out for during summer. Sometimes, there are scammers hiding behind moving truck rental services to steal from unsuspecting citizens.

People have paid for moving services online only to realize that the company didn’t even exist in the first place.

Others have packed their belongings in moving rental trucks only for the drivers to drive off without the owners.

In light of the above instances, it’s very clear why most people will flock to the U-Haul truck booking websites as it is a large and reputable company.

People are willing to pay more for premium services, knowing that their property is in safe hands.

U-Haul, storage facilities, and other small trustworthy companies make a killing during summer.

3. High Cost of Living

cost of living

The cost of living has been going up each passing day, and recent global events have not made things any easier for California.

Global pandemics, wars, and sanctions have seen electricity, gas, and food prices soar through the roof.

The average American feels the pinch at the pump, grocery, and cash registers.

Various unfortunate events have disrupted global supply chains forcing the US and other countries to source essential goods elsewhere.

All this means that many sectors are reeling under the weight of extra taxes and levies, and retailers have to recover the costs from the consumers.

It’s important to understand that the rise in gas and electricity prices affects everything else, including transport costs.

As a company in the service industry, U-Haul is greatly affected, forcing them to raise their prices in order to afford gas and staff salaries.

4. Marketing and Branding


Any business that wants to remain solvent in this era of stiff competition must invest heavily in marketing and branding.

U-Haul is not a monopoly in the world of personal transport. Other companies have been in the industry for a long time and are giving U-Haul a run for its money.

U-Haul is aware of the fact that they have to have effective commercials to acquire you as a client. However, the branding and marketing costs have to be recovered from somewhere, and it’s not from the shareholders.

Marketing costs always weigh in on the customers, and they aren’t going away any soon. The money the company spends on customer acquisition needs to be recovered in one way or another.

Chances are you will pay for it when you need to use their services.

With all the potential customers up for grabs, U-Haul will continue marketing their brand to catch as many as they can. Empty trucks sitting at the parking lot are bad for business.

5. Summer Problems


According to National Fire News, the frequency of wildfires has increased in the recent ten years and often occurs in summer when it is dry.

Wildfires destroy acres of land and threaten entire ecosystems. Residents are forced to relocate to new homes in safer areas.

This increases demand which causes U-Haul prices to soar.

Wildfires disrupt several direct travel routes. Consequently, the cost of insuring, renting, and using a U-Haul truck rises for those using those routes from California.

Trucks have rubber wheels and use flammable fuels, making it risky to use a U-Haul when wildfires are so rampant.

Forest fires are frequent in California, New Mexico, Kansas, and South Dakota during the warmer months.

The presence of automobiles and campers doubles the chances of occurrence.

Forest fires reduce the quality of the atmospheric air, and trucks and other automobiles need oxygen to burn fuels.

Smoke and soot pollute the air, clogging carburetors, leading to higher fuel consumption and lower fuel efficiency.

U-Haul will therefore need more maintenance during the warmer seasons, which will no doubt raise the rental prices.

6. Rising Insurance Prices


Insurance prices are going up from where the industry stood last year. Insurance companies saw elevated claim activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they are still trying to recover.

Pandemic-related claims, extreme weather events, inflationary pressures, and civil unrest have suppressed the profitability of insurance companies.

Insurance rates skyrocketed during the pandemic because some people cut back on insurance while the rest traveled less.

Since restrictions from the pandemic have been lifted, the insurance industry has been in a hurry to regain its former glory.

You will see the inflated rates at the beginning of the summer – if you haven’t already.

Like all American vehicle companies, U-Haul has not been spared by the insurance companies. To recover these amounts, you may pay the company upfront insurance costs.

If not, they will recover the amount from the bill.

Regardless of your area of residence, U-Haul is not interested in paying insurance fees that you can pay for, so expect to add that to your next bill.

7. Lack of a Significant Competitor


U-Hall has eliminated any potential competition with its sheer ubiquity. When people think about moving, their first go-to company is U-Haul, mostly because there aren’t other well-known competitors.

Although there are several other smaller companies, U-Haul seems to cover the whole California region and the state.

Their omnipresence can be felt in every state, village, and town across the country.

You can bet that U-Haul knows this and is exploiting it properly. They don’t seem to be stepping down from their position any time soon.

8. U-Haul Can Get off Scot Free

Apart from the reasons we have covered above, U-Haul can get away with being expensive in California for reasons only known by the industry.

With the rise of the internet, people are becoming more accustomed to paying premium prices for premium goods and services.

Historically, moving rental companies could charge higher prices in some areas and cheaper prices in others.

Although this has become increasingly difficult due to internet communication, it still happens.

One thing that has given U-Haul an edge over its competitors is diversity. You can find these trucks almost anywhere in the country.


This has given them leeway for price exploitation in areas where they have the monopoly.

They can charge whatever they want because they have little to no competition in certain areas.

In other words, they can afford to be pricey in some areas, including California, because they are the only game in town.

If you can’t afford U-Haul’s expensive prices in California, pray that you have a friend who owns a truck.

9. Migrating with Crowds

Californians, like other citizens, love to do things at the same time, which creates huge crowds.

Higher fuel, food, and electricity prices have a compounding effect that forces people to move to more affordable areas.

The higher the number of migrants, the higher the demand and higher the prices U-Haul will charge.

Americans move along social lines, which means that if your social circles move from California, you will follow suit.

 with Crowds

And urban-rural migration doesn’t make things any easier. Once living becomes unbearable in California’s urban areas, people tend to move to rural homes.

This keeps U-Haul in business, allowing them to be pricey whenever they want.

10. International Relations

Various issues have rocked the world, from bad weather, disease outbreaks, and bad international relations.

This has affected the prices of various items, with gas prices hitting an all-time high at the end of winter.

With the world imposing heavy sanctions on major crude oil producers and multinational oil companies boycotting purchases, it is quite clear why you’ll pay more for a gallon of gas.

The state’s oil reserves have done little to alleviate the current problem as the government looks for new crude oil producers.

When the cost of gas goes up, the extra burden is transferred to the common citizens by the service industry.


This has nothing to do with U-Haul company because they have been equally affected alongside everyone else.

Fuel prices should not affect your moving dates. However, you are not likely to get better deals during summer.

Again, avoid moving during summer when everybody is moving to avoid paying exaggerated prices due to increased demand.

Lastly, keep in mind that the country and the world at large are still recovering from the pandemic.

It will take time before many economies can stabilize and the burden lightens on our shoulders.