Victoria, British Columbia — With COVID-19 restrictions lifting, and more people wanting to travel, North America is experiencing a car rental shortage of epic proportions.
Craig Hirota, the vice-president of government relations and member services with Associated Canadian Car Rental Operators, says that the pandemic can be to blame for the car rental shortage.
“Most if not all car rental operators across the world had to reduce their fleets significantly during the pandemic due to extreme reductions in consumer demand,” said Hirota. “Nobody was travelling for vacation and corporate travel was basically non-existent. It left a lot of unused vehicles sitting on lots.”
Senior Vice-President of marketing and communications with CAA, Gary Howard, says that one of the major problems is that the pandemic forced rental places to get rid of vehicles that weren’t being used, and now they are scrambling to fulfill the rise in rental car demand.
“The impact is being felt everywhere — at least in hot tourism spots across Canada and the U.S.,” said Howard. “Most of the fleets are leased so during the high point of COVID, fleets were shrinking. Now it is coming back but the car rental companies cannot get enough vehicles back in the fleets.”
Not only is the demand for rental vehicles increasing, but the price is as well. A resident in Hamilton, Allyson Rowley has frequently rented vehicles over the years and what used to cost her $30 a day, now costs her over $60.
“The cost has doubled since before the pandemic,” she said. “I’ve made an ethical and financial choice to not own a car as I mostly walk and bike and only rent a car when I need one, but it’s becoming unaffordable.” (SOURCE CTV News)
Car rental companies are urging people to book their rental as early as possible to ensure a vehicle will be available.