If 2019 is viewed as the pre-pandemic baseline for a multitude of business metrics, so too for car rental rates. With the help of Rate-Highway, Auto Rental News analyzed data from 2019 and compared it to the “pandemic-exit” years of 2021 and 2022. Following are the details.
Rates by Car Type, Year Over Year
Compared to the “normal” baseline of 2019, each of the chosen car types saw significant gains in 2021 and 2022, the pandemic-exit years. While 2021 followed a normal rate pattern of summer peaks — and a historically high peak at that — 2022 saw sustained high rates in the first half that deflated slightly moving into fall. One explanation is that supply loosened somewhat as the year progressed, putting downward pressure on rates.
U.S. Brand Level Price Comparison
Traditionally, price differentiation between deep value, value, and premium brands followed an expected stratification. In 2021, differences were skewed for much of the year, where deep value saw prices touch premium at the height of summer, and during the final three months the three tracked at almost the same strata. In 2022, rates between brand types fell back into the expected pattern — yet were substantially higher overall than the previous year.
U.S. Airport Pricing with the Largest Increase from 2021
Each of the top 10 airports for car rental enjoyed stratospheric gains in rates in 2022 over the baseline of 2019 and the pandemic/post-pandemic years of 2020 and 2021. Las Vegas (LAS) and Orlando (MCO) saw massive rate cuts in 2020 with casino gambling and theme parks shuttered. Rates at other airports may have been more affected by supply — as car rental companies moved fleets to sunnier, outdoor climes in 2021, high-volume airports like JFK and Chicago’s O’Hare (ORD) were left with fewer cars and thus could raise rates on available inventory.