SUV Rental Rates Fall

Skyrocketing gas prices are raising demand for more fuel-efficient cars, and rental agencies are scrambling to keep up, according to The News & Observer.

In response, Hertz and Alamo have introduced discounted rates for sport utility vehicles, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car offers free upgrades to SUVs when smaller cars are unavailable, The News & Observer reports.

Kevin Miles, vice president of Thrifty Rent A Car of Ohio, has cut his fleet of SUVs by 75 percent in the past year. Business travelers "may have a reservation for a midsize car, but we may give them a free upgrade to a nice four-by-four SUV," he said. "They'll reject it, because they don't want to pay [for] the gas."

Rental fees have risen in response to higher gas and maintenance costs -- by 5 percent to 10 percent, said Shelton Watts, vice president of Raleigh's Triangle Rent A Car. That's causing more people to choose their rentals carefully, he said. Last summer, the daily rate for a midsize car was $5 cheaper than it is now, according to Abrams Travel, an industry journal.

Still, the car rental market is growing, said AAA Carolinas spokeswoman Sarah Davis. Car rentals are up 3.4 percent compared with the same period last year, but the most interesting part is the breakdown, she said.

"Compact car rentals, like [Toyota] Echoes, are up 7.8 percent, while intermediates, like Corollas, are up 9.6 percent," Davis said. SUV rentals are down 1 percent, she added.

Comment On This Story

Name:  
Email:  
Comment: (Max. 10000 characters)  
Please leave blank:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.

 
 

Newsletter: Sign up to receive latest news, articles, and much more.

Read the latest

Auto Focus Blog: A blog covering fleets, auto rental and the business of cars

A Shared Mobility Model Takes Shape for Fleets

Technology that allows cab drivers flexible access to a shared fleet is leveling the playing field for an 89-year-old taxi company.

Safety Tech: Crash Avoidance or Sensory Overload?

As advanced safety technologies become even more pervasive on mainstream vehicles, are we creating “stupid drivers?"

Own the Fleet, Own the Future

In the dialogue surrounding new transportation paradigms, fleets have been off the public radar until recently. Here’s what’s going on, and a way for you to participate in the conversation.

Job Finder: Access Top Talent. Fill Key Positions.

>