Rental car shortage could impact summer travel plans

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 9:49 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A rental car shortage is increasing the price to rent a car to new heights and some companies don’t have the cars available. Eyewitness News spoke with a travel agent with AAA (Triple-A) who advised that the more in advance that you plan your trip, the better. The issue with shortages in available rental cars and the price surge for the rentals is an issue across the country.

In Wichita, Heily Monge, soon to graduate from from Derby High School said she has family coming into town, all the way from Puerto Rico. They had planned to rent a van for the week.

“We were wanting to rent a van, but when we went on the website, there weren’t any available,” Monge said. “...We were surprised because there’s a lot of graduations going on. I feel like they should have more.”

It’s a problem many will encounter this summer.

“Last year, because everything came into a halt, most car rental properties had to sell their inventory because no one was selling anything,’ AAA travel agent Matt Bert said.

The problems are coming last-minute for travelers.

“We’re seeing a very high percentage of rates going up, but then also a lack of cars when you arrive to pick it up,” Bert said. “Maybe they don’t have a car, maybe they don’t have your reservation, but we’re seeing demand outweigh supply.”

For example, if you’re waiting to make the trip to Destin, Florida for the Fourth of July weekend, chances are you won’t find a car. Or, if you go to Myrtle Beach, you could expect to pay about $200 per day for a midsize Toyota Corolla. But don’t get discouraged.

“What we are suggesting, if you have a trip in mind, do a car rental early in advance so that you make sure you have a reservation,” Bert said. “...Later on, maybe a month or two, check the rate again because maybe a good deal will come up. But if you don’t see a good deal or if its twice as much, you have peace of mind that you already have a car or a reservation in place.”

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