If you tried to rent a car in Las Vegas over Thanksgiving weekend, you were probably feeling a little left out. That’s because Superstorm Sandy caused a massive shortage in rental car availability in the city. The storm damaged thousands of cars, including ones owned by rental car companies. In addition to that, the shortage was also exacerbated by the rising demand, as Thanksgiving and Christmas are typically very busy seasons for rental car companies.
Pre-existing agreements were mostly honored, though people trying to get a rental car last minute had no such luck, and the ones that were left carried a hefty premium. Almost every major car rental company was out of stock and the ones that did have vehicles were charging roughly $350 a day or more.
In order to help with the shortage, rental car companies drove in thousands of extra vehicles from other places in the country. In addition to that, they also kept older models that they would normally sell to used car dealers. However, they needed every vehicle they could get their hands on, as thousands of people were without transportation due to Sandy.
Insurance companies from around the country stated that they received nearly 38,000 car damage reports in the days following Sandy. According to Neil Abrams of the Abrams Consulting Group, “It’s an unusual situation. Unfortunately, you can’t go out and buy cars for a demand spike. You don’t know how long it will last.”
Most car rental companies wouldn’t disclose their personal losses from Sandy, though Avis acknowledged that it lost 2% of its fleet from Philadelphia to Connecticut, though didn’t mention exactly how many cars that was. Sandy definitely took its toll on the country in more ways than one and a lot of holiday travelers are experiencing it first hand.
Source: Las Vegas Sun – Sandy leads to Thanksgiving rental car shortage