LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- A shortage of semiconductor computer chips is leading to a lack of rental car availability, according to rental car experts.
When the pandemic hit in spring 2020, a lot of rental car companies sold off entire fleets of cars due to a huge dip in travel and the need for money in order to stay afloat.
Now that people are traveling again, rental car companies are looking to buy new cars.
However, a shortage of computer chips, also brought on by factories shutting down during the pandemic, is making it difficult for new car manufacturers to keep up with rental car demand.
“You need computer chips to control all the major systems in the car. Engine management, climate control, entertainment systems,” said Jonathan Weinberg, CEO of Autosplash. “Now they are facing shortages of these semiconductors which is causing problems all across the industry. Namely, that rental cars are sold out all over the place.”
Weinberg said he first noticed the problem on Presidents Day weekend. The worst of it is happening in leisure destinations like Florida, Hawaii and Las Vegas.
“We thought it was a one time thing that weekend, but we are seeing it over and over again. In fact, the situation has gotten worse in some places,” said Weinberg.
A gasoline shortage may also put a damper on summer travel plans.
Residents looking to fill up at a local Chevron found a note on the pump saying the company is experiencing supply issues in Clark County.
Chevron sent FOX5 the following statement:
As travel and capacity restrictions have been reduced, the west coast has seen increases in fuel demand that may outpace the available supply at times during the month.
Weinberg said the same can be said for the rental car industry.
“Demand is skyrocketing as more folks get vaccinated and are looking to travel,” said Weinberg.