There’s no sugar coating it: With the amount of money it takes these days to rent a vehicle for a week or two, it might make more sense to slap those funds on the table as a down payment for buying a new car rather than borrowing one temporarily. Prices are sky-high. Estimates out there conclude that the daily rate on a rental car has gone up between $34 and $81 per day since 2019.
Though it’s no consolation to travelers, the reason for the skyrocketing prices is twofold, both of which are pandemic related. First of all, the global disruption of travel in 2020 and 2021 saw car rental agencies selling off large swaths of their fleets due to the swift drop-in customers, resulting in low inventories across the board. Subsequently, getting new vehicles in to replace them has proven difficult due to the global semiconductor shortage that is affecting new car builds around the world (we recently waited five months for our new Ford Puma purchased in Italy in August 2021). So, demand is high, supply is low. Simple economics strike again!
The good news is this surge should be temporary. The bad news is current trends are looking to continue until sometime in 2023. Short of walking, here are a few tips to help ease the pain.
Beyond that, there isn’t a whole lot that can be done other than riding this one out (in something other than four wheels) or making holiday choices that do not require a rental car. This too shall pass, but we’re stuck with it for the immediate future. It’s nothing an umbrella cocktail on the beach can’t fix!
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