People who rent cars for vacation trips may be shocked by the stickers.
Car rental companies have imported more vehicles since shortages drove prices up this summer, but rates are rising again as more people prepare to hit the road for Thanksgiving and the holidays. winter.
âThe holidays are shaping up better than this summer, but I wouldn’t be celebrating too much. Renting a car is always an expensive time, and we expect it to take some time yet, âsaid Matt Clarke, vice president of marketing for North America at Kayak, a travel research company.
The expected increase in rates depends on who you ask and where you are renting.
Kayak estimates that average Chicago rental prices compared to Thanksgiving are around $ 104 per day, up 90% from the same time period in 2019. Nationwide, rates were on average 97 $ per day, although New Yorkers would have to pay even more: about $ 135 per day compared to Thanksgiving. .
Christmas rates in Chicago were around $ 102 per day, up about 65% from 2019, according to Kayak.
AAA predicts a more modest increase, with an average daily car rental rate of $ 98 at 20 locations across the United States from Thanksgiving, up just 4% from last year but nearly 31% more than in 2019.
Finding vehicles can also be a challenge in some areas. Victoria Park, 42, of Chicago, booked a rental with Thrifty for a trip to Phoenix this past weekend because her usual car rental company was sold out. But when her flight landed, Thrifty had closed earlier because there were no more cars, she said.
Other airport rental companies were also full. Park took an Uber to her hotel and eventually got a refund through American Express Travel, which she used to book the rental.
âI understand there is a shortageâ¦ but at least let us know in advance. Even if they had emailed while we were on the plane, we could have made arrangements so that we weren’t just stranded, âshe said.
Drivers will also pay more to fill the tank. Gasoline prices were 49.6% higher in October than a year ago, according to the most recent Consumer Price Index report from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
More than 53.4 million people are expected to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 13% from a year ago and less than 5% from 2019, AAA said last week. About 90% of these travelers are expected to drive.
Car rental prices rose this summer as travel rebounded as rental companies struggled to replace the hundreds of thousands of vehicles they were selling when trips were halted at the start of the pandemic. Semiconductor shortages affecting automakers have limited access to new vehicles.
Avis Budget Group had around 434,400 vehicles in its fleet in the three months ended September 30, up 20% from the same period last year and similar to its average fleet size in 2019 The company spent about $ 8 billion on new cars. this year, CEO Joseph Ferraro said on an earnings call earlier this month.
Hertz, meanwhile, still had 34% fewer vehicles in its fleet in the three months ended September 30 compared to two years earlier.
âWhile we are building new vehicles every month, we are not seeing the supply levels required to fully replenish and run the fleet,â CFO Kenny Cheung said on an earnings call last month.
Hertz has ordered 100,000 Tesla electric vehicles, which are expected to be delivered by the end of 2022.
Clarke advised shopping around, which could include checking out companies that allow customers to hire someone’s personal car and reserve early.
“We are not anticipating last minute deals,” he said.
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