Strong demand for rental cars expected for the holidays
HONOLULU (KHON2) – Summer tourism has resulted in high demand for car rentals statewide, driving up prices along with the car shortage. Some business owners have said the busy summer has taught them how to better prepare for the upcoming vacation season.
Brian McEwan, of Lahaina Auto Rentals, said business has slowed down considerably since the summer, although the business they have seen in the previous months has allowed them to increase their fleet.
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“We had seven originally,” said McEwan, “and because we’re making more money than usual we were able to buy an SUV, and then the next month we had two more full-size cars. . “
McEwan said they are using the months leading up to the holidays to reassess and prepare for winter travel by updating their website to make it easier to book a car.
“It’s more user-friendly now,” McEwan said. “There are a lot of different shortcuts that you can just plug into certain things and it’ll show exactly what you’re looking for versus doing everything manually. ”
KHON2 News has spoken to other local car rental companies, and the owners have said they likely won’t be increasing their fleets for the holidays. A few car rental business owners have said the shortage of car chips and delays in the assembly line keep them from buying more cars.
However, due to the impacts many locals have suffered on the tourism and rental car route, City Councilor Alice Lee is considering adding a rental car tax.
“It recognizes the impacts, the many negative impacts of rental car use,” Lee said. “The use of rental cars is much more intense than regular trips to work. “
In the meantime, McEwan said more calls are starting to come in to book towards the holidays.
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“We know what to prepare for now,” McKewan said, “and maybe things will go a little easier next time.”