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After drop early this year, car rental rates could rise again

June 10, 2012
  • Car rental rates dropped at the beginning of the year.
Car rental rates dropped at the beginning of the year. (Richard Derk / Los Angeles…)

Daily car rental rates for the first three months of the year were down nearly 5% compared with the same period last year.

The average daily car rental rate dropped to $40.92 this year from $42.89 in the first three months of last year, according to a study by Travel Leaders Corporate, a travel management company in Florida.

But the price break might be temporary.

Auto rental companies started the year with a larger number of cars in their fleets than usual, said Robert M. Barton, president of the American Car Rental Assn. He said that as cars are sold off by the companies, the fleets will return to more normal levels this summer. As the supply gets more limited, prices could climb.

"We encourage customers to book early to make sure the car they need is available for their summer vacation," Barton said.

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