shortage this year, and locals are cashing in on it. The Land of the Midnight Sun isn't alone. With a relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, summer travel is on the rise and car rental companies are struggling to keep up.
The shortage has opened the door for individuals to rent their own vehicles much like renting out a home on Airbnb. Some Alaskans are even
. Normally, Alaska rental car agencies boost their inventories for the summer. Following the season, they sell off many of the extra cars.
In 2020, rental car demand was at an all-time low. As the economy recovers, the chip shortage continues to slow car production. This has in turn led to a lower-than-typical supply of rental cars available this year.
The 2021 rental demand has been relentless in Alaska and other states. More visitors have spent their time on the road rather than the more traditional cruise ship.
Alaskans seeing profit in Turo
With a lack of traditional rental cars available, car-share prices have seen a dramatic increase in rates, about 257% in Anchorage since 2019. Car owners set their own prices. They can also limit the number of miles driven in a day.
reported that Jin Chen, who works in the travel industry, offered two vehicles on Turo for a couple of years. She purchased and added a third at the end of May. By early June, her Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Tiguan, and new BMW X6 were all booked for June and July.
Chen expected to earn $5,000 to $12,000 per car during those two months.
Like Chen, Cheyene Thomas, who works at an Anchorage car dealership, started renting out her BMW X2 on Turo. "Within five minutes I had like 10 bookings," she said. By mid-June, it was booked through August.
The system isn’t perfect, and it comes with some risks for owners. Chen said that one out-of-state group got two flat tires near Cantwell, and she had to buy a new tire set.
can help. The free app compares rates from name-brand companies to get you the best price without phone calls or long forms. If you’re confused about your coverage options, Jerry’s friendly agents can help answer your questions.
Jane Lu is excited about writing and digital media. She has published blog posts for SAP’s Digitalist Magazine with a focus on emerging technology and trends. When she’s not writing about car insurance or upcoming vehicles, you can find her drawing on a graphics tablet or trying to find new places with good french fries.