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If you’ve spent any amount of time on public roads in your life, you have likely encountered a number of the orange and white U-Haul vehicles. While they have many uses, one common reason people rent these vans and trucks is to save money on moving costs by opting to do all the moving themselves rather than hiring professional movers. You’ve also might have noticed that most of these U-Haul vehicles sport an Arizona license plate, whether you’re all the way on the east coast in Maine or up north in Canada. While this might seem strange, it makes a lot of sense once you know the reason why. 

Why do U-Haul vehicles all have Arizona license plates?

A U-Haul truck driving past a wind farm in Palm Springs, California
A U-Haul truck driving in Palm Springs, California | Robert Alexander/Getty Images

So, you’re on the road sitting at a red light and you catch sight of the Arizona license plate on the rear of the U-Haul moving van in front of you. If you don’t live in Arizona, your first thought might be that maybe the person driving the vehicle had rented the van from an Arizona U-Haul location and is moving states. While this is entirely possible, it’s likely not the case. Instead, the moving van could be from any U-Haul location in the 48 continental states and all Canadian provinces. 

According to CNN, the reason you see Arizona plates on U-Haul vehicles simply comes down to money. Normally, when a driver registers their personal vehicle, they are asked to pay a fee to the state that they are registering in. However, for commercial vehicles traveling across state lines, companies are asked to pay large fees of up to $1,000 per year. U-Haul, headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, registers its entire rental fleet in Arizona and then “distributes those license plate fees to other states where the rental trucks travel.” 

The locations and services of U-Haul

For most people, the first company that comes to mind when they think of renting a moving truck or van is U-Haul. Due to the prevalence of its locations across North America and the generally cheap cost of renting a vehicle, U-Haul has even had trouble keeping up with the demand in some areas. Would-be renters can easily choose the vehicle they need at any U-Haul location and then drop it off at a location near their destination. 

While U-Haul is best known for its massive rental vehicle fleet, the company also offers other related services as well. For example, U-Haul locations typically supply storage units, moving supplies, trailer hitches, propane, and towing. 

Other moving van competitors


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There’s nothing more beneficial to consumers than competition between companies that offer similar services. This is no different in the rental vehicle space, as competition is what keeps U-Haul’s prices so low (in most cases). 

Some of U-Haul’s top competitors include Budget Truck Rental, Penske, and Enterprise Truck Rental, according to Move Buddha. Budget Truck Rental is praised for its unlimited mileage on long-distance trips, discounts available for students, military, and AAA members, and an easy-to-navigate website making the rental process smooth. However, the number of vehicle sizes pales compared to what you would find at a U-Haul location. 

Penske, another top competitor, boasts a new and high-quality fleet, guaranteed reservations, sustainability efforts, and transparent pricing. Unfortunately, if you need a trailer, Penske will not be of much help. 

Enterprise, most well known for its commuter vehicle rentals, also has a sizable moving vehicle fleet available to renters. Of the four moving vehicle companies mentioned, Enterprise offers the largest selection of truck sizes, some of which use diesel fuel. Additionally, Enterprise moving rentals come with 300 free miles and cheap rates after the 300-mile threshold has been reached.