Will Car Rental Prices Come Down? An Expert's Perspective

Many home improvement stores offer truck and van rentals that could help you survive in a pinch, although their prices are aimed at hourly users. When checking rental prices, it may be worth considering if a city center or suburban location offers better prices or availability than the airport. Taking a short trip on Uber or public transportation to a location where there is less demand for rental vehicles could mean substantial savings on car rental. Ultimately, whether one of these options is viable depends on whether you can get to the rental location, your travel patterns while in a city, and how well your expected usage matches the rental price structure. With airline ticket prices and car rental prices, it's becoming more cost-effective for some summer vacation travelers to drive to their destinations in their own cars, despite high gas prices.

Earlier this year, some tourists in Hawaii discovered the joy of saving money by renting a U-Haul truck instead of a standard rental car, for example. A recent analysis looked at the price of a one-week rental at eight major car rental companies based on the company's available car with the lowest available price (usually a small sedan). NerdWallet conducted an analysis of 360 rental car prices (including taxes and fees) to better understand rental car price trends. It is likely that there will be a seasonal price increase during the holiday season, and customers can expect rental cars to remain in service longer than they used to. The issue is that there aren't enough rental cars right now because automakers are still limited by chip shortages and other problems with suppliers that caused new car prices at dealerships to skyrocket earlier this year.

And because new cars are more expensive than before, rental companies don't place excessive orders, making fleets smaller and more profitable. Ultimately, due to high mileage charges and use-oriented hourly rental prices, these options will only be viable for a small subgroup of travelers. To get the best deal on car rentals, there are two main strategies. First, look for rental cars months in advance and consider vehicles that aren't your first choice for a better rate. Additionally, keep checking rates frequently even after booking, as the situation may change in the meantime.

As with gasoline, experts say a significant reduction in demand would lower rental rates, but it doesn't seem likely that this will happen before a busy summer travel season - the busiest the country could have in three years. When specifically analyzing rental locations at airports, the results were mostly similar to the overall averages, with some slight deviations.