Yesterday Central Oregon Daily reported on the shortage of new cars locally. Today we checked out the shortage of available rental cars.
Some of the same factors—new car production slowdowns due to COVID and lack of computer chips—that are impacting car dealerships are impacting the rental car market.
Also at play are basic economics: low supply and high demand means not many rental cars are available, and they cost more.
If it’s been a year or more since you rented a car, prepare for sticker shock.
Rental cars at the Redmond Airport for the week of June 20 — which is the first week schools are out — are quoted at a price of $500 a week for a compact. That’s about $70 a day.
During the week of the 4th of July, compact rental cars cost $630 a week from National car rental. That’s about $90 a day.
Larger cars, vans and luxury vehicles rent for twice and three times that amount.
“We are seeing some sky-high rates and double is where the rates start these days,” Jonathan Weinberg, CEO of AutoSlash, said. “In some cases, and in some areas like Hawaii, Alaska, and Montana we are seeing rates two to five times what we would normally see.”
One couple at the airport said they paid $1,400 for a one-week car rental.
They said that was the most they had paid anywhere they’ve traveled.
“It’s kind of a perfect storm,” Weinberg said. “A supply-demand imbalance between the amount of people that are looking to travel, and the cars that the rental cars companies can get a hold of to make those available.”
However, several people at the airport said they had no trouble reserving rental cars and didn’t think the rental rates were out of line.
“The lady at the desk was great. She gave us recommendations on which one we should select,” said Sean Catron of Houston, Texas. “It was quick, easy, efficient. She told us which way to go. Now we have the exact car that we reserved online.”
Travel experts recommend reserving a rental car as early as possible to ensure something is available.
If no rentals are available, consider other travel dates and keep checking because about 20% of people who reserve rental cars don’t show up.