Rental car availability plummets while prices continue to climb

Car rentals in Canada have gone up more than 30 per cent in the past year which is mostly linked to supply and demand.

As Maggie Boyer stood in line to rent a car this morning at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, she said the cost to rent a car has gone up noticeable.

"It’s a lot more expensive than it was a year ago," said Boyer. “Today we are paying for a week, seven days in total about $1700.”

Rental car companies are running low on vehicles. Assembly lines are dealing with a shortage of key parts like semiconductors, combined with low inventory brought on by the pandemic.

"A key challenge right now continues to be the global chip shortage and other supply chain constraints that are impacting all industries, including new car availability," said Lisa Martini from Enterprise Rent-A-Car, in an email to CTV News. "We remain optimistic and are confident in our availability going into the summer peak season and holidays."

Market research specialist Margaret Chapman said expensive or unavailable rental cars are changing the way people are choosing to spend their money.

“They are curbing their trips and they are doing them shorter or doing them less frequently because it’s expensive," said Chapman. "Everybody is noticing prices are increasing across-the-board."

Tourism Nova Scotia recently launched online solutions for people to travel more affordably.

Chapman said according to her research, travellers are saying, "now I can’t afford to do that road trip I’ve been aching to do."

Chapman also said consumer confidence continues to dip especially for tourists, because of rental car cost and availability plus overall inflation issues.