JOPLIN, MO – If you drive your own vehicle on vacation, you’re paying for gas. If you get a rental, you’re paying a lot more, more so now than ever. And that depends on whether you can find one.
Several months ago, Kris Stapleton and his wife and kids decided to go on a vacation to Florida.
He says his wife booked a rental car back in March.
After investing a lot of time and money in the trip, they received an unwelcoming surprise.
“A fairly large sized vehicle so we could take me, the family and have plenty of room for luggage and not be cramped and we get a call this morning that we’re not gonna get a car, they don’t have anything available after they gave us our conformation yesterday.” Says Stapleton.
And the last time Sarah Johnson was able to get a rental, she was in for a big surprise too.
“The cost seems like it’s doubled in a lot of times and in the holidays it was a thousand dollars a week for things, you know, you can’t, some of the places you can’t rent one way, you have to rent only local um if you’re going to look for a one way rental, you better call a head of time and sometimes you have to rent a U-Haul.” Says Johnson.
So what’s caused the shortage that’s affect the rental car industry, as you might guess, it’s COVID related.
Back during the height of the COVID shutdown, people just stopped going on trips, so the demand for rentals took a nosedive.
Some rental companies sold off a good portion of their fleet of vehicles just to pay the bills.
Now travelers want to make up for lost time, and the demand for rentals has shot up, but rental fleets are low because of the sell off.
This is Johnson’s advice if you’re planning a trip.
“Tell them to make sure they have plenty of money set aside for it and to maybe do your reservation way ahead of time.” Says Johnson.
And remember Stapleton’s situation? A few hours after his interview, he says enterprise found a large enough vehicle for his family to rent, but the company had to go all the way to one of their locations in Springfield to locate one.