As tourism begins to rebound in Hawaii, rental car companies are so short on vehicles that some visitors have been turning to U-Hauls to get around during their vacation.
The state’s U-Haul locations are the busiest they have been in years, U-Haul Co. of Hawaii President Kaleo Alau told “Hawaii News Now.”
“The uptick from tourism, the uptick from companies opening back up, from the economy restarting — everybody seems to need a vehicle,” Alau said. “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.”
When the pandemic began, rental car companies suddenly were swimming in unneeded inventory. They sold off many of those vehicles, but now that travel is recovering, automakers are unable to keep up with demand because the global microchip shortage has halted many of their assembly lines.
That, in turn, has caused rental prices to skyrocket. At one point in March, rental companies were asking $722 a day to rent a Toyota Camry on Maui, according to the news program.
So tourists have been calling U-Haul to ask for pickups, cargo vans and box trucks, Alau said. He’s trying to discourage visitors from taking all of the vehicles so locals can still use them to move. “Sometimes there are people who are like, ‘Can I rent this vehicle for a month?’ ” he said. “And I just tell them that’s not going to happen.”