Hawaiian businesses that once faced famine are now thriving thanks to the slow but steady reopening of industries across the globe, but most specifically travel-related businesses such as car rental agencies. Hitting rock bottom around this time last year, things are now much different in Hawaii where it's nearly impossible to find a rental car; or at least one that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. As a result, tourists are turning to alternative forms of transportation, such as U-Hauls.
According to Hawaii News Now, a perfect storm of limited inventory and surging demand has driven prices of rental cars to record highs and availability to record lows. U-Haul agencies are now benefiting from this phenomenon, with the report claiming that Hawaii U-Haul facilities are "the busiest they’ve been in years."
"Most of the time they’re saying that they can’t get a vehicle from any of the rental spots. They’re all sold out,” U-Haul Marketing President Kaleo Alau told Hawaii News Now.
If you'd rather not drive a cargo van or vox truck during your exotic beach vacation, it's gonna cost ya. Another report from The Maui News claims that despite locally owned agencies trying their best to not price gouge the same clients they dearly needed over the course of the pandemic, they've had to react in order to keep up with demand and earn a living.
“Every year gets busy, but not for this long,” Kimo’s Rent-A-Car manager Daniel Biho told The Maui News. “February, March, April is looking crazy, even May. It’s a good thing though." “We increased (prices) way too late. We were booking so fast,” he said.
Reports claim that the cheapest rental car in Maui in the month of March was a Toyota Camry, which went for an eye-watering $722 per day. For that kind of coin, I'd at least expect a Lexus, wouldn't you?
Pricing for as recent as last week (April 19-24) wasn't quite that high, but still steep, with The Maui News claiming rentals averaged around $1,000 to $2,000 per week depending on vehicle class. Other third-party sites simply showed no availability.
My own search for a U-Haul in the island of Hawaii returned a few available pickup trucks and vans at $20 per day and $0.59 cents per mile driven, while a search via Hertz's own website returned zero cars available for the week of May 3-7.
It looks like if you want to visit Hawaii and get around on something other than a scooter or bicycle, a U-Haul is your best bet.
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