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Vacation-bound Americans are spending a pretty penny on car rentals — due to a pandemic-induced vehicle shortage, according to reports.
Rental prices for even “economy”-sized cars in hotspots like Arizona, Hawaii and Florida have soared to $300 a day and beyond in recent weeks as the industry struggles to keep up with pent-up demand.
“Travelers are canceling entire vacations because they either can’t afford a car rental or simply can’t find an available car at any price,” Jonathan Weinberg of the auto rental search engine Autoslash told the Points Guy.
Rental car prices have jumped 30 percent nationwide — and as high as 300 percent in some places, Weinberg said.
The industry simply doesn’t have the supply to meet the demand. COVID-19 decimated the industry financially last year — mainstays like Hertz filed for bankruptcy, while others sold off their cars to cut costs, CNN Business said.
Travel has also resumed faster than many rental companies anticipated, according to experts — leaving them short on inventory in key locations.
“Rental car supply is normally tight around spring break, but not like this,” Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Woronka told CNN. “Normally you have 30 percent more cars.”
“During this period of pent-up demand for travel but not enough supply, you should expect prices would be higher than in the past. The travel providers are testing the waters. We’re in uncharted territory. They’ve all lost a lot money in the last year.”
Industry watchers recommend would-be travelers book their rental car as early as possible.
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