Rental Cars in Short Supply During Beijing Games; Prices Way Up

As Beijing is welcoming more than 2 million visitors to the city during the Olympics, along with restrictions on the number of cars allowed on the road during that time, rental cars are in short supply.

Prices have doubled and even risen to four times the norm. Car rental firms said the price increase was due to the robust market demand and the alternating, even-odd license plate ban.

At Beijing Today's New Conception car renting chain store, one of the biggest groups in the capital, luxury sedans are rented out for a long time, the prices have doubled since August 1. Only a few economy cars are available.

The price to rent a manual Jetta from Zheng's has increased from about $33.50 (230 yuan) per day to about $69.75 (479 yuan) for 48 hours in August. The rental of a Buick GL8, the most popular executive wagon in the Chinese market, has gone up to about $238.85 (1,640 yuan) for two days from a normal about $113.60 (780 yuan) a day.

Customers are paying about $305.85 (2,100 yuan) to lease an Audi A6 for 48-hours, more than double the previous price.

The cost to rent a Mercedes-Benz S350 has risen to about $174.77 (12,000 yuan) per day, four times the regular rate. Furthermore, customers must rent the car for a minimum of five days now.

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