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Moving truck prices tell policy story

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

It's no secret that Idaho and Montana are two of the fastest growing states in the country. In fact, almost every county in Idaho and a majority in Montana are seeing population growth. Many of the new residents of Idaho and Montana have come by way of California, Oregon and Washington where high taxes, increasing crime, rampant homelessness and strangling regulations are making it difficult for many working families to survive.

The population data tells a story, but the market data is just as stark. Consider the price of renting a U-Haul truck. It is consistently less expensive to rent a truck from Idaho and drive it to a destination on the west coast, than the other way around. Why? The demand is so high, U-Haul charges more. Likewise, the demand to return is so low, U-Haul is trying to make it in your financial interests to get the trucks back to locations such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.

Today, we checked on the price of renting the most inexpensive U-Haul truck on a Wednesday, and driving it to and from various locations. The cost tells a story:

(Prices from rental inquiry for June 28th)

  • Los Angeles to Boise - $2,665

  • Boise to Los Angeles - $693

  • San Francisco to Boise - $1,069

  • Boise to San Francisco - $555

  • Portland to Boise - $590

  • Boise to Portland - $344

  • Seattle to Boise - $584

  • Boise to Seattle - $383

The Los Angeles to Boise prices, in particular, are astonishing. It costs nearly 400% more to rent a U-Haul truck with the intent to leave LA and head to Boise.

Idaho's quality of life, low tax burden and booming economy make it incredibly attractive. When it comes to public policy, citizens vote with their feet. And in this case, it's a stampede.

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