The rental car shortage is causing tourists to rent U-Hauls to avoid high prices while getting around Hawai‘i, but the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority wants travelers to knock it off.
As quarantines relax here in the U.S. and travel ramps up, some top travel destinations are reporting a shortage of rental cars for travelers. Rental cars are in such short supply that the average price of one across the country increased 12 percent in the last month alone. In tourist destinations like Hawai‘i, the rental car shortage is hitting particularly hard. A rental car for mid-July was going for $249 per day back in May, according to the Washington Post. A U-Haul truck booked at the same time could go for as low as $19.95 and 89 cents per mile.
Now, after months of U-hauls disappearing into the hands of tourist, Hawai‘ian officials are finally addressing it, according to the travel site The Points Guy. The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority posted this statement to its website:
Hawai‘i Tourism Authority does not condone visitors renting moving trucks and vans for leisure purposes.
It’s a headache as some parts of Hawai‘i have very narrow streets — European village narrow. A big-ass U-Hual based on an Econoline 250 shouldn’t be senselessly traversing those kinds of streets. It’s also a huge pain for the people who live in Hawai’i and need to do the quick moves U-Haul’s business model is based on.
Rather than just issue a statement and be done with it, the tourism authority is working with other state agencies like the Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau and the state’s DMV to provide travelers with resources and information on different ways of getting around. There are things like shuttle services, tours, and hikes that are provided. And honestly, Hawai‘i is a literal paradise. Who wouldn’t want to get out and see it?
As the Points Guy points out, one of the more interesting ways of getting around suggested is the island’s own locally-owned and operated rideshare service called Holoholo. It’s pretty much a Hawai‘i-specific Uber/Lyft competitor. If you plan on visiting the big island anytime soon, don’t be dumb and rent a giant U-Haul. Do some research on your trip and plan accordingly.