Colorado Blizzards Strand Travelers, Rental Demand Spikes

The recent blizzards in Colorado left many people scrambling for ways to get to their holiday destinations, according to KRDO ABC13 in Colorado Springs.

Airlines and rental car companies had limited availability, with rentals fetching higher than normal prices, and many rental agencies at the Colorado Springs airport running out of cars during the airport shutdowns, especially those offering one-way rentals.

Traveler Dave Tuafa was prepared to pay the Internet rate of $500, but at the counter he was told the holiday rate was nearly $1,000 as a result of the high demand for SUVs, KRDO reports.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers says the price increases are perfectly legal, as Colorado does not currently have a price-gauging law. A law that would prevent these kinds of increases was defeated in the last legislature, but may come up for a vote again.

The law would define price gauging as an over 10-percent price increase, without corresponding increases in cost of supply, during a government-declared emergency.

KXRM FOX-21 in Colorado Springs called local rental car agencies to find out about the availability of SUVs and Enterprise, Dollar and Budget responded that they were all sold out.

When asked about current pricing, Alamo quoted a three-day rental for a Chevrolet TrailBlazer SUV at $1,197.10, which breaks down to almost $400 a day. If you were to rent the same vehicle in June, the three-day total would come to $235. According to the salesperson at Alamo, availability and conditions dictate the changes in price.

Next to Alamo's quote, Dollar had the next most expensive daily rate of $179 for the weekend of Dec. 30, 2006. Prices at other agencies averaged out around $90, KXRM reports.

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