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Demand slows for Maui rental cars after earlier shortage

Hawaii Department of Transportation
Hawaii Department of Transportation

WAILUKU, Hawaiʻi — Demand for rental cars on Maui is slowing down after a shortage of vehicles sent prices soaring when more tourists returned amid the pandemic.

Parked vehicles have been filling fields near the airport as the number of tourists declined in September and daily car rentals dropped slightly, The Maui News reported Monday.

In April and May, vehicles booked up quickly at Maui Car Rentals, manager Kaliʻi Oliveira said.

While September and October tend to be slower months, Oliveira said they've also been losing reservations since Gov. David Ige last month asked visitors to postpone travel to Hawai.i to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

There are about 120 vehicles in Maui Car Rentals' fleet, with about 20 to 30 of them “just kind of sitting here right now,” Oliveira said.

Demand was so high earlier this year that one customer asked to rent Oliveira's personal vehicle for $100 a day.

Prices at national rental car companies were showing some decline for a five-day reservation, according to the Wailuku newspaper.

In May and April, a reservation cost $1,000 to $2,000 for five days. Last week, prices at major car rental companies ranged from about $300 to about $700.

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