Saving money on travel? Consider rethinking renting a car

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– As the 4th of July is just around the corner, many people are expected to travel for the holiday weekend. 

The rental car industry is no exception to the current economy when it comes to inflation, but it’s not just higher rates that are hurting renters. 

“It’s really more about availability not being what it used to,” Brad Korell said. “That’s been the primary change at least in my experience. I travel a lot. It’s really been about sometimes you show up even though you have a reservation and there’s no car.” 

Korell said a lot of companies sold off inventory during the COVID-19 pandemic, which left customers with limited options when things began to return to normal. 

“When things picked up, I think a lot faster than most people expected, the cars were just not there,” Korell said. “Now you have chip shortages and all those sorts of things that, it’s a problem that that doesn’t seem to be correcting itself anytime soon.” 

We talked to another man who said the last time he rented a car, it almost cost him as much as a plane ticket. 

“We thought, ‘Oh, this is a great way to save money. We can fly to Chicago and drive the rest of the way,’” Blaine Means said. “By the time the pandemic had progressed and the car market had dried up, we paid more money to rent a car to get from Chicago to Springfield than it would have cost us to fly.”

Means was able to get a car Thursday and said one of the reasons he rents is to save on gas, another rising cost. 

“We were given no options for hybrids,” Means said. “And that’s that’s a big deal in gas mileage these days if you can get into hybrid, but you can save a lot of money on gas and on your rental.”

Korell said two things to help with your renting is to make a reservation and expect a waiting period when picking up your car.