Rental car companies can't meet the soaring demand for more fuel-efficient small cars and are forcing irritated customers to take "upgrades" to gas-guzzlers. Rocketing gas prices are putting pressure on Hertz, Avis, and other companies to sell their luxury cars and SUVs to pay for fuel-efficient models. Bookings for economy cars at one major travel agency were up 14% while the demand for luxury cars plummeted 24%.
"Just six months ago, anybody would have taken a Chevy Trailblazer SUV in lieu of a four-cylinder Cobalt. Not now," an industry consultant told the Los Angeles Times. "That's a big deal. That's 25 years of history changing."