Why Have Car Rental Prices Doubled or Tripled in the Last Two Months?

A rental car is like any other commodity. The price goes up when demand is high and the price goes down when demand is low.

But the equation isn't always that simple. Over the past 18 months, the rental car companies have artificially reduced the supply of cars available for rent by selling 400,000 of their cars into the used car market.

In fact, TV financial pundit, Jim Cramer, lauded Hertz for it's spectacular earnings report last October precisely because Hertz made more money selling cars then renting them.

With low air fares, more people are traveling and renting cars, so the increased demand on a reduced supply caused prices to rise - by a lot.

In May 2008, it cost, on average, $199.65 to rent a compact car. A year later, the average was $346 - a 73% increase.

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There are ways to avoid these rate increases:

1) Search for mom-and-pop rental car companies that rent cars for less because they don't have costly marketing efforts.

2) Consider renting a car from one of the 85% of Toyota dealerships that rent cars.

3) Avoid picking up a rental car at the airport, where rates are usually highest.

Unfortunately, none of these strategies work in Victoria, B.C. Independent rental car companies are hard to find, and their rates are not much lower than the name-brands. Toyota dealerships only rent cars in the United States.

There is no difference between the Avis rate at the airport and their Victoria office. National Car Rental charges $9 more to pick up a compact Suzuki Swift from it's Traveller's Inn office in midtown Victoria than from the airport.

Fortunately, Victoria has among the lowest rental car rates in all of Canada.

Posted in Transportation/Automotive Other Post Date 03/18/2015


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