Like so much during the COVID-19 pandemic, rental cars seem to have disappeared overnight. The ongoing vehicle shortage has pushed some rental prices into the stratosphere.
Now average car owners are hoping to take part in the action.
Axios reports that ordinary people buy up “small fleets of cars” and charge high prices in order to rent them out to travelers in their area.
In an example cited by Axios, it will cost you a whopping $ 500 to rent a Budget Ford Fiesta hatchback for a weekend in Boston in mid-October. Or you can pay for a Maserati Quattroporte from the Turo car sharing website for the same price.
As we have reported, during the height of the pandemic, car rental companies sold large numbers of vehicles because they had few, if any, customers. But when life returned to normal, the car rental companies got caught with too many customers and too few cars.
Supply chain problems have made it difficult for car rental companies to find new cars to replenish their fleets. So the law of supply and demand has driven rental car prices so high. In fact, the inflation rate of rental car and truck prices, as measured by the Federal Labor Statistics Office, rose by 52.6% between August 2020 and August 2021.
Everyday car owners noticed the rise in prices. Some of them make their own profit by renting out vehicles on Turo and other car sharing sites.
For example, Axios reports that Lazaro Vento from Miami lists 22 rental vehicles. In one of the last few months he made a profit of $ 30,000.
Vento also manages nearly 100 Airbnb properties and sometimes packages them with its Turo cars. As he tells Axios:
“When you arrive at a place, the car is waiting for you – you really feel like a VIP.”
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