Summer rental car rates

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Michigan Mom

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Is anyone else noticing that car rental rates are unusually high this summer... whether it's a one way rental or returning to same location, I'm getting $100 a day for the smallest vehicle. :(
Yes, there's not a train option to consider.
 

TheVig

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Yep. They are high. Pent up demand. Also many rental agencies dumped a lot of their fleet last year during the pandemic, creating shortages.

A coworker last week spent almost $200 a day on a Toyota Yaris. It was a business trip, so luckily he gets reimbursed for it.

A couple of weeks back, another coworker landed at the airport, and they didn’t have the car he was supposed to get. Only thing available was a small box truck. LOL. Told them to go pound sand and used Uber and Lyft instead.
 

JayPea

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Is anyone else noticing that car rental rates are unusually high this summer... whether it's a one way rental or returning to same location, I'm getting $100 a day for the smallest vehicle. :(
Yes, there's not a train option to consider.
I took a combo Amtrak/rental car trip last week (Spokane to East Glacier Park round trip via Amtrak and rental car at East Glacier so I could spend 3 or 4 days exploring Montana) and it was $130/day. Fortunately that was with unlimited mileage; I put about 1600 miles on the rental car. At what would have been 25 cents/mile, that would have been a huge chunk of change.
 
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Sounds to me, like it might be more cost-effective to just buy (and then resell), an old "beater" to get around in, for extended stays...
But then, the prices of those have also risen dramatically, of late.....🤷‍♂️
 

Rasputin

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This sounds like a great year to plan a trip to places where you do not need to rent a car. But with prices going up all around, maybe it is just a good year to stay home also (for the second year in a row).
 

MARC Rider

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This sounds like a great year to plan a trip to places where you do not need to rent a car. But with prices going up all around, maybe it is just a good year to stay home also (for the second year in a row).
I'm not staying home, but it's another road trip year for us. Fortunately I got all the hotel reservations lined up before the prices started spiking. (Though hotels in the northeast are disgustingly expensive every summer, I actually snagged a couple with decent prices.) And we're spending the week up in the cabin in Maine, which doesn't cost us anything.
 

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I need a car rental in September and it's not only the high prices but the lack of selection. One vendor had 3 or 4 options where there previously would have been a dozen or more - and all at high daily rates before airport fees and taxes. The smartest thing to do seems to book but not pre-pay, locking in availability and rate in hopes both improve before the date.
 

willem

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The smartest thing to do seems to book but not pre-pay, locking in availability and rate in hopes both improve before the date.
Some posters on FlyerTalk have complained that rental agencies are not honoring reservations, but telling customers the price has gone up when the customer arrives to rent the car.
 

jiml

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Heard the same thing. I somehow can't see a major name at an airport doing this, but it's a jungle right now. I wonder if using an external agent (e.g. Expedia) would provide some protection. I made a reservation with Hertz - paying a little more but have status, so hoping for the best.
 
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Ziv

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I priced my car rental for 3 days in Greenville SC early last week and they were all starting at $375, for 3 days! Ouch. I knew that the car rental companies had deferred purchasing newer cars due to low demand and now that demand was rising, supply was short so prices went up. So the supply/demand equation in action. Irritating but understandable.
I went back and booked it today with Hertz (not a budget car rental agency but I get points on my United card) and the total charge is $279 including taxes, fees but no collision insurance.
So maybe, just maybe, the rental car shortage is easing a bit. In one location. Possibly.
LOL!
 

Anderson

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Sounds to me, like it might be more cost-effective to just buy (and then resell), an old "beater" to get around in, for extended stays...
But then, the prices of those have also risen dramatically, of late.....🤷‍♂️
I think someone did this (and got some publicity for it) in the UK a few years back, when train tickets there got stupidly expensive. The biggest issue is dealing with registering it.

Depending on the timeframe involved, I half-expect to hear stories before too long of someone buying a beater under a fake name, driving it for a few days on the old plates and a bill of sale, and then just dumping it at a salvage yard (or leaving it at the airport on the way out) without ever registering the sale. To be clear, I am not suggesting that anyone do this (not least because of possible liability issues, to say nothing of illegality), but I can easily see someone doing that rather than fork over $1000+ for a rental or deal with all of the paperwork with buying the car.

Some posters on FlyerTalk have complained that rental agencies are not honoring reservations, but telling customers the price has gone up when the customer arrives to rent the car.
I sense this is going to end in a class-action suit or two (e.g. rich lawyers and probably vouchers for the affected folks). This is a lousy position for folks to be in on the receiving end, but it reeks of fraud.

One suggestion has been to prepay for the rental, on the grounds that the rental company is probably far more likely to try and get you a car rather than do a refund.

===== ===== ===== ===== =====

Bluntly, this is a part (albeit only a part) of why I've been driving rather than taking the train (let alone flying). It occurs to me that an airline could probably grab some business if they were able to guarantee your rental car when you get there.
 

Anderson

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I priced my car rental for 3 days in Greenville SC early last week and they were all starting at $375, for 3 days! Ouch. I knew that the car rental companies had deferred purchasing newer cars due to low demand and now that demand was rising, supply was short so prices went up. So the supply/demand equation in action. Irritating but understandable.
I went back and booked it today with Hertz (not a budget car rental agency but I get points on my United card) and the total charge is $279 including taxes, fees but no collision insurance.
So maybe, just maybe, the rental car shortage is easing a bit. In one location. Possibly.
LOL!
My guess is that it's more that the computer's demand model got a little bit froggy trying to milk the situation and they ended up with more availability. Don't forget that Amtrak's roomettes used to come down close to the last minute; with prices in the stratosphere I wouldn't be surprised if rental car companies are doing some of this (raising the price in advance, in an attempt to ration demand, and then cutting the price if the cars don't move at the jacked-up rates).
 

MikefromCrete

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Rent a car companies are the worst. They ask your preference for the type of car you want, but there's no guarantee they'll actually have that type of car available when you arrive at the office -- and this is in the best of times. A friend of mine reserved a "large size car" for a trip from his home in Texas to Florida. When he arrived at the Enterprise office, he was told no large size cars were available and was offered a pick up truck! Now this did happen in Texas so maybe they felt it was an upgrade. The Enterprise employee suggested he stop at Enterprise offices along his route to see if they had the desired large car. He eventually got a Jeep SUV, but really why do rent a car companies make a big deal about choosing a type of car when they frequently can't accommodate the request.
 

Bob Dylan

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I have a friend that works for Hertz @ the Austin Airport, and he told me that after Hertz Sold off most of their Cars last year,once demand started increasing as travel resumed, they jacked up their rates which is Supply and Demand" in action.

Now that Austin is once again setting records @ our too small airport( TSA warms travelers to be @ the Airport 3-4 Hours before your Flight!), Rental Car Rates are as much as $200 a day, Gasoline Prices are rising Daily, and lots of travelers with Reservations are arriving only to be told, sorry, No Cars like you booked are available, but we can "Upgrade" you for X amount of $$$.🤑🤬

Sounds like what Amtrak is doing on the Western Trains, while Southwest Airlines is filling their Flights with "Deals".😎( I just booked AUS-SFO for $159 and AUS-CHI for $109 on their 50% off Deal/ RTs!!!😍)

I understand Supply and Demand, but Amtrak is leaving $$$ on the table by refusing to add Cars to their Western LD Trains which are mostly running 90-100% Full.The current Bucket for 1 in a Roomette AUS-CHI is $772( when available) and AUS-EMY is $1762!!!! OUCH!!!
 
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Devil's Advocate

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Is anyone else noticing that car rental rates are unusually high this summer...
$100+ per day for a subcompact is the going rate in my experience, and that assumes they actually have a car ready when you show up. Reports of dirty interiors, delayed maintenance, and empty lots are rather common at the moment. You'd think at least one chain would have been in better shape but last I checked Avis owned Budget, Hertz owned Dollar and Thrifty, Enterprise owned Alamo and National, and the others had a distinctly gray market feel to them.

Sounds to me, like it might be more cost-effective to just buy (and then resell), an old "beater" to get around in, for extended stays...
I've seen this done on television shows like Top Gear but I'm unenthusiastic about spending my vacation hours looking for a used car of unknown dependability and getting it inspected, registered, insured, plated, and stickered in my name. Since I don't have a staff of fixers it seems like an excessive level of risk to me.
 

Brian Battuello

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As has been reported extensive elsewhere, it takes ridiculously long to get new railroad cars built, and a handful are out for refurbishing. I doubt Amtrak has many sleepers just sitting around in yards.
 
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anumberone

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I booked a car from a small town in Indiana,( Newcastle). I was driving to Ashville Ohio. When I went to pickup the car they bring out a real beater Crown Vic. I had no choice but to hit the highway with it and it actually turned out to be a great car for the trip.
 

Bob Dylan

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As has been reported extensive elsewhere, it takes ridiculously long to get new railroad cars built, and a handful are out for refurbishing. I doubt Amtrak has many sleepers just sitting around in yards.
Too bad Amtrak didn't have any time to rehab,fix Rail Cars during the past year since Rail Travel was @ record levels and they ran the Trains day and Night Non-Stop, No wait-----
 

Bob Dylan

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I booked a car from a small town in Indiana,( Newcastle). I was driving to Ashville Ohio. When I went to pickup the car they bring out a real beater Crown Vic. I had no choice but to hit the highway with it and it actually turned out to be a great car for the trip.
Alpine,TX ( Sunset Ltd)Mom and Pop Rentals are Beaters, but they run and the Price is Right!😎
 

Michigan Mom

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really appreciate the replies. So that's where things are this are this summer with rentals. I'm not smart enough to know how to buy a Beater and make that work.
 

jiml

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I booked a car from a small town in Indiana,( Newcastle). I was driving to Ashville Ohio. When I went to pickup the car they bring out a real beater Crown Vic. I had no choice but to hit the highway with it and it actually turned out to be a great car for the trip.
And if it was any dark color or plain white, a lot of people slowed down when they saw you coming. ;)
 

jiml

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really appreciate the replies. So that's where things are this are this summer with rentals. I'm not smart enough to know how to buy a Beater and make that work.
If you're a Costco member, check their rates. For a couple of the major rental companies they were better than the companies themselves were offering (Enterprise and Avis IIRC). I was able to leverage a preferred rate and discount code with Hertz for a slight saving over all of them, but still paying over $400 for a 3-day rental in September.
 

Deni

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I have not been getting bad rates in Chicago at National Car Rental. I've usually been able to get a car for about $50-60/day. I've got a reservation for a 7-passenger van for a road trip later this summer that I'll have for just under $400/week including taxes. Used a suburban location to reserve that one, using the airport or the downtown Enterprise locations would have been a lot more.
 

jiml

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I've got a reservation for a 7-passenger van for a road trip later this summer that I'll have for just under $400/week including taxes. Used a suburban location to reserve that one, using the airport or the downtown Enterprise locations would have been a lot more.
That's a really good rate! Minivans showed in a couple of my recent searches at $400 a day or more (not that I needed one). Obviously there's a huge regional disparity.
 

Dakota 400

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Summer, 2019, needing to rent a car in Anchorage for several days. Much research was done. A "loyalty" member of Hertz included in the pricing. Hertz was the most expensive of them all.

Surprising to me, Avis had the best price for the size of car that I wanted: a Buick Verano (or its like). Arriving at ANC, no such model/make was available, but, for the same price, I was given a brand new Ford Focus with less than 2000 miles. This was my first SUV that I have ever driven. Never thought that I would like such a car. But, after several hundred of miles, I liked it. I was in the market for a new car and had been very disappointed with what I was finding. That Ford Focus gave me a several hundred miles test drive for such a vehicle. My experience led me to buying my 2020 Buick Envision with which I am quite pleased.

I must say that I was quite impressed with my experience with Avis at ANC. I need to rent a car infrequently. But, their service, friendliness, the condition of the car, ease of pick-up and return: I'll be back!
 
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