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Rental Rut: Car rental costs spiking across major cities

Toronto, Ontario — Delightfully dubbed the Carpocalypse, many North American cities face skyrocketing rental car prices—a persistent 2021 phenomenon that can be blamed on the supply chain

Rental vehicle demand has rebounded. However, many rental operators struggled to reach pre-pandemic fleet levels due to the ongoing supply chain crisis, said Mathan Selven, general manager of Distinct Rent-a-Car during an interview with the Toronto Star.

While not universal across every rental outlet, other Toronto operators like Avis Canada and Enterprise Rent-A-Car were fully booked for the coming weekend.

According to Statistics Canada, non-existent demand was met by downsizing from many rental car agencies at the start of the pandemic. While demand increased in late 2020 and 2021, few companies were prepared for this boom. Supply chain issues and global material shortages meant slow fleet replenishment, leading to prices escalating.

In British Columbia, the number of rental vehicles remained around 22,450 between 2020 and 2021.  Coupled with rising demand, consumer price index for rental vehicles  across Canada spiked by 33 percent in 2021.

With no respite to the supply chain shortages, expect heightened prices until the end of summer.

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