ANTITRUST: Red Light for Rentals

The most lucrative place for rent-a-car companies to be is in airports. Needing ground transport, plane passengers account for about 70% of the $700 million in annual auto rentals. Last year however, the Federal Trade Commission charged that 96% of all airport car-rental income went to the three largest companies—Hertz, Avis and National —so the FTC sued the Big Three, accusing them of conspiring to freeze competitors out of airports. The Commission claimed that their rates were 10% to 40% higher than smaller firms.

Last week the companies settled the case without admitting any guilt. Each signed an FTC consent...

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