Lockdowns Send Rental Car Prices Sky-High, Vacationers See U-Hauls as Alternative

by sam
Lockdowns Send Rental Car Prices Sky-High, Vacationers Use U-Hauls as Alternative

Samuel Case, FISM News


If you plan on vacationing this summer be prepared to make Uber and Lyft or even a U-Haul your main mode of transportation, that is unless your ready to dole out some major cash for a rental car.

A surprising consequence of the 2020 pandemic lockdowns was a glut of rental cars. CNN Business reports that once the country went into full lockdown “rental companies parked their cars in unused lots at ballparks around the nation, and cars were rented for a fraction of their normal price — or sold as used cars. The industry sold off more than a half a million cars, about a third of their combined fleets, just to generate cash they needed to survive the crisis.”

Now with the country reopening and Americans longing to cure their cabin fever, rental car companies in key vacation spots are finding themselves without enough cars to meet demand. As a result, prices are going through the roof.

Orlando vacationers are facing prices of $300 a day, and last month in Maui, Hawaii the cheapest car was going for $722. To make matter worse, these sky-high prices are only for those lucky enough to have found a car available at all; many locations are completely sold out. In Hawaii, vacationers are renting U-Hauls as an alternative, but this “vacation hack” is also leading to a shortage in supply.

Rental car companies are attempting to restock their fleets, but it may take some time before they’re back to pre-pandemic levels. CNN Business noted that the industry has “purchased nearly 400,000 cars in the last five months, but is down about 40% from its year earlier purchases, according to data from Cox Automotive.”

If you want a rental car for your summer vacation the best advice is to book far in advance.