Dec 24, 2021 - Economy & Business

Car rental prices soar ahead of holiday travel

Hertz Car Rental. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Car rental prices are shooting up while travelers have fewer choices to choose from during the holiday season, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Driving the news: The shortage can be traced to a rise in holiday travel, which is near pre-pandemic levels even with COVID cases rising due to the Omicron variant.

The big picture: The car rental industry was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, but made a comeback earlier this year after the vaccine rollout.

  • Companies tried to restock to meet demand, but were unable to do so because of a chip shortage.

By the numbers: The average daily rental rate in the U.S. in December was $81, up 31% from 2020, according to travel company Kayak, the WSJ writes.

  • Pre-pandemic, the average rental rate was around $46 a day in December.

What they're saying: Hertz and Enterprise Holdings Inc. both told the WSJ that they are "taking steps to alleviate constraints" by moving stock and staff to high-demand locations.

  • Both companies also said they were trying to raise inventory by "non-traditional" means such as buying from dealerships instead of directly from manufacturers.
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