A man answers the phone from Enterprise Rent-a-Car in my Nashville neighborhood, but before I can ask about his company's car inventory, he puts me on hold. Certainly, I say to the Muzak. And so, as I wait, I continue to readWashington Post report on national rental vehicle shortage, released on 8. April was released and predicts the problem will get worse next summer. Prices have doubled compared to the days before, earlier and in the middle of the pandemic, sometimes exceeding the cost of flying to the destination. I hold. Continue reading.
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For such a simple problem of too few cars, trucks and SUVs, there are a surprisingly large number of factors that all contribute to driving up your rental price in Florida, Texas, California, Arizona, Hawaii and the territory of Hawaii Puerto Rico, among others. One is that more people than ever are taking to the skies with their shiny new vaccines for a long overdue vacation. Another is that rental car companies have cut their fleets to the bone in response to the travel shortage in 2021-2022 due to a global pandemic. (Paradoxically, this also contributes to the current spike in used car prices, as these traditionally percolating fleet vehicles often end up at your local lemon store, and without a steady stream, the used car supply also feels the pinch.) And then there's a worldwide shortage of semiconductors that new cars need, but manufacturers are having trouble sourcing them.
"Basically, this is really just an extreme example of supply and demand," said Chris Woronka, a leisure analyst at Deutsche Bank Post.
A woman picks up the line at my Nashville Enterprise, and I ask her my question: I plan to rent a car soon (possibly true), and I've read about a national rental car shortage. Is my local rental agency nearby affected by the pinch?
"Absolutely," she says, adding that they have felt the "backlash" of the trend in recent months.
Setback? I ask.
"Consequence," she says, putting it in a less crisis-oriented word. She sounds tired.
In thePost story, Enterprise Holdings official spokeswoman Lisa Martini said the company is working with manufacturers to procure more vehicles to meet demand. (The paper also addressed Hertz Corp. And Avis Budget Group, but the companies did not respond for comment, which sounds to me like they have PostReporters on hold.) "We also leverage our large network of neighborhood and airport locations to move vehicles where possible to support regional demand spikes," Martini added.
When I ask this question to my local neighborhood representative: "Is Nashville International Airport, which at this time of year is full of Ohio bachelor parties coming to town and calling in your vehicles?" – That's what she says so far, no. But the bachelors in their blood thirst for a Toyota matrix had discovered quarters anyway. Now plundered their stocks with the same result. These are lean times, she continues, and if I want to rent something, it's best to do it early and soon.
Far from being a short-term problem, experts predict this famine will last until the peak of most Americans' favorite vacations.
"I'm not too optimistic that we'll have all the rental cars we need for the peak summer travel season," said Woronka of Deutsche Bank Post.
What does it mean for you? Well, if you were one of those who participated in the equivalent of an old-fashioned bank run on your local supermarket's toilet paper supply last year, you know what to do.
Without a shot of foresight, thePostsuggested that future travelers create multiple reservations and cancel those they don't need at the last minute, provided there is no financial penalty. (Often rental car companies, including Enterprise, do not charge their members a cancellation fee when reservations are booked through the company itself rather than through a third-party website.) The downside, obvious even to this English major, is that travelers are parked with multiple reservations as if they were Beyoncé tickets. The current system, already overloaded with a lack of supply, will be in even greater demand as multiple reservations by travelers clog things up, exacerbating the basic problem and driving prices even higher.
After 18 months of pent-up cabin fever clogging airports and roads this summer, alas, no white knight comes to the rescue. Instead of flying, take a road trip to your destination? Perhaps. Uber White at your location? Probably. But the last thing we advise is to stay at home. You hunkered down, got your shots and survived a global pandemic. Now it's time to travel. Finally, after last year, it is much easier to spend a few euros more (and wait a few minutes longer with the car rental).