U-Haul trucks are unexpectedly getting a new look in Hawaii.
While the trucks are usually used for moving, tourists are now renting them because rental car prices have skyrocketed with the rebound of the tourism industry.
Covid-19 brought tourism to a halt, but with states now easing restrictions, the industry has come bouncing back with force.
The cheapest rental car in Maui in March ran for $722 a day, according to CNN affiliate KHNL-TV.
“This surge in demand is primarily for our smaller vehicles,” said Kaleo Alau, U-Haul Company of Hawaii president, in an emailed statement to CNN. “We realize this demand is occurring when tourists are unable to secure a rental car, or they learn that our rental fleet options are more affordable.”
Of course, this now also means a shortage of U-Haul trucks for people who actually need to move, Alau said.
“We are working everyday with our primary customer base — the islands’ residential movers — to ensure we can still meet their transportation needs,” Alau said.
The shortage of rental cars isn’t just in Hawaii, either.
As a result of the pandemic, rental car companies across the United States parked their cars in unused lots at ballparks, and cars were rented for a fraction of their normal price — or sold as used cars. The industry sold off more than a half a million cars, about a third of its combined fleets, just to generate cash it needed to survive the crisis.
The rejuvenation of tourism thus sent car rental prices soaring. A search of car rental sites in March showed a Kia Rio, a sub-compact car, going for $300 a day in Orlando.
CNN’s Chris Isidore contributed to this report.