Hawaii is asking tourists to stop renting U-Haul moving vans amid the massive rental car shortage

  • The Hawaii Tourism Authority says it “doesn’t condone visitors renting moving [vehicles] for leisure purposes.”
  • A rental car shortage has been afflicting US tourist hotspots like Hawaii, pushing visitors to rent U-Hauls instead.
  • The tourism agency now recommends reserving a rental car before booking the rest of the trip.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rental cars have become increasingly expensive and difficult to book in hot tourist destinations like Hawaii. As a result, tourists have turned to booking U-Haul vehicles instead of rental cars.

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But now, the Aloha State is asking its tourists to stop renting moving vehicles: “[we] do not condone visitors renting moving trucks and vans for leisure purposes,” the Hawaii Tourism Authority wrote under the “rental car shortage” section of its website, as first reported by Madison Blancaflor for the Points Guy.

According to the agency, the state’s fleet of rental vehicles dropped by over 40% during COVID-19. But Hawaii isn’t the only tourist destination with a shrunken rental-car fleet. Earlier on in the pandemic, rental-car companies like Hertz and Avis sold a number of their vehicles to save cash. And now, these companies are struggling to regrow fleets due to abnormally high used car prices and a decreased number of new cars as a result of the global computer chip shortage.

But as rental-car companies race to rebuild fleet sizes, tourists are beginning to travel again, which is only compounding the rental-vehicle shortage in destinations Florida, Phoenix, Arizona, Puerto Rico, and of course, the Aloha State.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the average car rental in Hawaii carried a cost of about $50 daily. Now, some vehicles are renting at over $500 a day, Jonathan Weinberg, the founder and CEO of AutoSlash, told Insider in April. Some daily rental prices have even hit highs of $700 a day, which is over double 2019’s prices, Chris Woronka, a senior hotel-and-leisure analyst at Deutsche Bank, told Insider in April.

To combat this issue, Hawaii’s tourism agency recommends what other experts have been advising as well: plan ahead.

“Rental cars are in high demand, so please plan ahead to secure a reservation first before making the rest of your travel arrangements,” the agency wrote on its website.

U-Haul did not have a comment regarding the tourism authority’s advice against tourists renting moving vehicles.

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