Car Rental Prices Skyrocketing
Car Rental Prices Skyrocketing

Car Rental Prices Skyrocketing

Mobility Trends and Hot Topics

Published: Mar 22, 2022

Car rental prices soared during the pandemic and they are expected to continue to rise throughout 2022 with no end in sight:

  • A study by, a comparison website for insurance, showed in July 2021, rental car prices were over 40 percent higher than the year before in the U.S. – lower, but not far behind all of Europe.
  • AutoSlash said rental rates in December of 2021 were up 50 percent compared to December of 2020, and up 60 percent compared to December of 2019. 
  • Data from travel company Kayak reveals that the average daily rental rate for a car in the U.S. in December 2021 was $81. That is up 31 percent from the year prior and up even more since December 2019 when the average rental rate was around $46.

According to, there are several reasons to help explain why prices have jumped so dramatically, but the biggest factor is smaller fleets of vehicles.

  • At the start of the pandemic, rental car companies sold large numbers of vehicles and then the global semiconductor shortage made it difficult to restock fleets.
  • As reported by Car and Driver Magazine, rental companies purchased very few cars in the fourth quarter of 2021.  Only 725,000 new cars were added to the U.S. rental car industry throughout 2021 – a nine percent drop from 2020 and a 58 percent drop from 2019 when the industry added almost 1,739,000 new vehicles, according to Auto Rental News.
  • Hertz revealed to The Wall Street Journal it had about 390,000 vehicles in its U.S. fleet in the third quarter – roughly 130,000 less than it did at the end of 2019.

As rental car companies face difficulty in restocking their fleets, prices will likely continue to rise across the globe. Iceland ranked as the most expensive country to rent a vehicle and fill the tank with fuel at an average of $1,383.24 per week, according to a study by

European countries dominated the overall top 20 most expensive countries for rental cars, and the U.S. ranked 16th for most expensive, where it costs $604.59 per week to rent a vehicle – less than half of the cost of renting a car in New Zealand or Iceland, according to the study.

While the car rental market may seem removed from relocation, think about the times relocating families may need to rent an automobile:

  • Orientation trip to the new location to explore the new community
  • Transportation needs for the family at their origin location while their autos are being shipped
  • Autos for the new location until their autos arrive
  • Individuals inbound from another country may not be able to purchase an auto upon arrival

To contain costs, NEI Account Executives proactively guide relocating families in coordinating all schedules to minimize additional costs associated with waiting periods, but some increased costs may not be able to be avoided.