Why Car Rentals Are Pricey in Great Recession

Airfares, hotel rates fell, but rental rates have started back uphill
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2009 1:40 PM CDT
Customer service representatives wait on customers at Enterprise rent-a-car at the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International airport July 10, 2007 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Hoping for a cheap car rental in the Great Recession? Sorry, car rental fees are going up, thanks to agencies selling off chunks of their fleets and creating a false shortage, Michelle Higgins writes in the New York Times. Last month, the average weekly airport rental price jumped 73% over the previous year, from $199 to $345. “There’s a lot of sticker shock,” said one analyst. “People don’t understand."

How to get the best deal possible? 

  • Avoid airport and downtown lots, which jack prices higher; rates are usually lower in the 'burbs.
  • Book larger vehicles; most customers go for the smaller, fuel-efficient cars.
  • Avoid Avis, Hertz, and other national chains. Mom-and-pop companies have lower overhead and lower prices.
  • Try virtual coupons from sites like FatWallet.com and CouponWinner.com.
Pick up more tips by clicking on the link below. (Read more rental car stories.)