Rental car shortage: If you're planning to rent this summer, prepare to pay up

Planning to rent a car this summer? You might not find one.

A supply shortage is coming that is without precedent.

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"It's all coming together in the worst storm possible," said Ivan Drury of Edmunds.com.

Last year, rental car companies reported shrinking their fleets drastically, selling hundreds of thousands of cars to stay afloat when the pandemic killed demand.

Now, industry experts say demand is booming back. But the cars to meet it just won't be there.

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There are early signs of what's to come in Hawaii, where a shortage of cars for rent had people instead flocking to get U-Haul trucks.

"We were like, 'I'm sorry... what are you moving?' And they're like no we just need a vehicle to rent," said U-Haul Marketing President Kaleo Alau.

Expect rental rates to go sky high. A Toyota Camry on Maui last month went for $700 a day.

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And it's not just Hawaii.

The obvious solution for rental companies seems to be: buy more cars. But it's not so obvious. Global auto production is nearly at a standstill because of shortages of a computer chip. There's no fast solution.

So what can you do if you're traveling this summer? Book a rental car as soon as possible because you definitely want to have a reservation. Then check that price almost every week.
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