Travel experts: rental car demand, rising fuel costs could pump the brakes on summer travel plans

Posted at 8:10 PM, May 18, 2021

BOISE, Idaho — With more COVID-19 vaccine doses being administered and positivity rates decreasing, many families are making up for lost time and finally taking previously postponed vacations.

Average cost of a rental car today

Memorial Day is expected to be the busiest weekend for travel since the pandemic began. The Boise Airport reported its travel numbers are recovering from last year. A report from March 2021 shows nearly 67,000 more passengers made it through the airport than in the same month last year.

But, as traveling increases, so do rental car demands and gas prices.

Jonathan Weinberg, founder & CEO of AutoSlash, told Idaho News 6 normally this time of year, a mid-size rental car averages $35 to $40 per day. Now, rates are anywhere from $100 to $500 per day.

As we reported in April, rental car prices are high due to a nationwide car shortage.

But rental car prices aren't the only thing rising. Gas prices are also on the rise.

GasBuddy predicts the national average price of gasoline will be $2.98 per gallon on Memorial Day.

GasBuddy experts predict a slight drop in current prices, but a $1.02 increase over the holiday weekend last year. It'll also mark the highest gas prices since Memorial Day 2014 when it reached $3.66 per gallon.

Weinberg said when planning travel this summer, make sure you're booking a rental car six to eight weeks in advance for the best price.