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The Car Coach: Carmageddon – Why rental cars are in short supply

Written By | Jul 4, 2021
Car Coach, Carmeggedon, Rental Cars

Have you tried to find a rental car for your next vacation or road trip? Good luck with that. You’ve probably heard that we’re now living through Carmageddon, a car rental apocalypse. Meaning that the rental car supply simply can’t meet the demand post-pandemic demand. Why is this happening and when will rental car companies get more vehicles?

Air traffic is recovering but there’s another change that none of us thought possible: it’s getting really hard to find rental cars.

Why are rental cars in such short supply?

There’s a myriad of reasons. To start, many rental car companies fell on hard financial times shortly after the pandemic started. No one was traveling and they obviously were not renting many cars. This caused rental car companies to quickly sell large portions of their rental fleet.  Additionally, they began canceling upcoming new vehicle orders. The result? Once travel started to pick back up, they were underprepared for a surge in new booking rentals.

This has had some terrible repercussions for travelers. Some travelers have shown up at airport rental booths only to find that there confirmed reservations have been canceled due to lack of supply. This can lead to major travel headaches especially if you need a rental to get to your final destination.

How to protect yourself when shopping for a rental car

Book your rental as far in advance as possible. This is the single most important way to ensure that you have a rental at all, and that you don’t end up paying more than you have to for it. Do not let it be an afterthought. People who wait until the last minute will most likely not have a vehicle available. If you’re booking a pay-later rate, it may be worth reserving a car even when you’re just starting to plan out your next trip.

Some people have used car-sharing apps like Turo is the world’s largest car-sharing marketplace. From rugged 4x4s to smooth and sports cars to affordable daily drivers, rents cars from owners who are trusted, local hosts.

We have also heard about travelers getting so desperate that they use a U-Haul rental to drive to their destination.

Here’s the Bottom line:

I highly recommend booking your rental car first, before even your airline tickets. Cars should start returning to rental car fleets in the fall but there is no guarantee. Once production is back up to speed consumers will be seeking new vehicles and so will the real car companies. Remember to book with name brand rental car companies to protect your travel plans.

Watch the video review. We show you everything you need to know. If you have additional questions, put them in the comments below and I’ll be happy to answer.




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Lauren Fix

Lauren Fix, The Car Coach®, is a nationally recognized automotive expert, analyst, author, and television host. A trusted car expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics and aspects, energy, industry, consumer news and safety issues.