Car rental shortages make for creative solutions

The pandemic hit the rental companies hard and they sold a lot of their fleet. But buying new cars isn’t the answer, because there’s a shortage there too.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — I want to make sure you don’t miss anything here.

Below, is an Instagram post. It shows a U-Haul pick-up truck.
And the post says: There’s a car rental shortage in Maui right now, so prices are insanely expensive, like $1,400 a week. Catch us driving this baddie around the island on our honeymoon in July. We legit just booked a U-Haul truck for the week for about $330.

What in the world is going on? I caught up with a local travel agent who happened to be on vacation.

“Usually when I come down, I get a car, but in DR, you can’t. There were no cars to rent at all in the Dominican Republic,” said Joshua Purkett from Get Away Travel Group in Greensboro.

The rental car shortage is all over. The islands, and right here in the lower 48 too. Why?

Joshua says the pandemic hit rental car companies hard. To make up the difference, they sold cars off their lots. Now that people are heading out again… there are not enough cars to go around. To add to that, rental companies can’t easily increase their supply. New cars are also in short supply as car companies deal with a semiconductor chip shortage that is put into those new cars.

“With the demand, people wanting to travel local, the demand just went out the roof and for the cars that are available, the prices are double or triple. If you used to pay $50 a day, it’s easily $150 a day,” said Purkett.

What can you do? Reserve early, like several months out. Instead of just randomly picking a company, any company registers as a rewards member. Members usually get more preference.