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'I thought it was crazy': Travellers shocked by car rental prices on Vancouver Island

Victoria -

If you are planning on hopping on a plane for a family vacation and renting a car at your destination, you better look into what it's going to cost you.

Many travellers are being blindsided with the price tag of a car rental. Peter Raymond is one of those travellers that was caught off guard.

"I thought it was crazy," Raymond told CTV News on Friday. "I couldn’t believe it, number one, and I thought maybe they were making a mistake."

A month ago, Raymond booked a flight from Toronto to Victoria for a family visit. He also looked into a car rental.

"At the time, they wanted something like $1,200 for four days," said Raymond.

This is a trip that he has done before. Normally he expects to pay no more than $100 a day.

He decided to wait and try his luck at the airport once he got here. That’s when he discovered vehicles are now renting for more than $500 a day.

"I said, 'Why so high?' And he said, 'Well it’s a market thing,'" said the bewildered traveller.

"I’m thinking to myself, no that’s a straight-up gouging thing," said Raymond.

It turns out, it is a market thing. During the pandemic, many rental car companies sold off their fleets to reduce costs. Now, as the world emerges from the pandemic, rental companies can’t buy more vehicles to replace them.

The Associated Canadian Rental Car Operators told CTV News that fleets are down because a shortage of semi-conductor chips has impacted new vehicle production.

That chip shortage is expected to last until the end of this year.

"It’s a simple case of supply and demand, that is what it is all about," said Kevin Crawford, sales manager at Used Car Centre in Colwood.

Used Car Centre buys a lot of its inventory from rental companies. With no new vehicles for those rental companies to buy, they are holding onto their vehicles for longer, creating a lack of inventory for the used vehicle market.

"The trickle-down effect is that it drives the used car prices up," said Crawford.

In the meantime, for the remainder of Raymond’s stay in Victoria, he’ll be getting around the old-fashioned way, by walking.

"My feet are sore, my legs are sore, but I’m $2,100 richer," said Raymond. Top Stories

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