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The best car rental companies in America

The best car rental companies in America (and the latest cheap car rental news)

Throughout the pandemic, the travel industry has been in turmoil, especially with rental cars, due to shortages leading to a car rental apocalypse. With things returning to normal, travelers are asking: What are the best car rental companies in America? And is it possible to find a cheap car rental?

JD Power— a global leader in consumer insights, data and analytics — has the answers. The company just released the 2022 North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study, which ranks the best and worst rental car companies and measures customer satisfaction.

The good news: Airport-based car rental companies have managed to figure out the vehicle shortage that caused customer satisfaction to take a nosedive last year. The bad news: cheap car rental is a thing of the past. With rates rising rapidly, the cost of renting a car has increased by 14% this year. In fact, the average customer quoted rent is now close to $90 per day. Compare that to 2019, when the average daily cost of a rental car was $76.

So why haven’t prices come down once supply issues are resolved? “Demand for rental cars is still relatively high, which is in line with the basic economics of demand-driven pricing,” says Taylor.

This has resulted in a drop in overall customer satisfaction for the industry – a score of 829 this year, down from 830 in 2021 and 841 in 2020. “There is a shift towards renters considering ‘price only’ meaning the brand affiliation is declining in these inflationary times,” said Michael Taylor, Travel Intelligence Lead at JD Power.

But it’s not all bad news. “Staff professionalism (in different factor areas) has increased slightly and rental car features have increased significantly (excluding in-car features), indicating some fleet and staffing levels are improving by 2021,” said Taylor.

So what are the winners – and the losers when it comes to car rental companies?

Enterprise ranked highest in overall customer satisfaction for the second year in a row, followed by National and Alamo in third place.

“The company’s main strength is delivering value for the price paid for the rental car,” said Taylor. “While nearly all rental car companies saw a drop in cost and reimbursement index scores from a year ago, Enterprise still held the top spot for value.”

The next three companies on the list – National, Alamo and Hertz also came out above the industry average. “Alamo and National share the same parent company with Enterprise (Enterprise Holdings),” said Taylor. “Hertz improved rental car availability and scores on rental car data (appearance, performance, features, etc.) have improved from a year ago.”

At the bottom of the list was Thrifty. “While Thrifty improved in almost every other factor in the JD Power study, renters felt that Thrifty was not value for money compared to other rental car brands,” Taylor says. “It’s not necessarily the lowest daily fee that ‘wins’ the expense and reimbursement category, it’s really the value of the car and the service received.”

So where are things going? “Our analysis shows a steady state for the rental car industry, although there is a risk that aging fleets will impact customer satisfaction, loyalty and profitability of the industry,” said Taylor. “Older cars have higher maintenance costs and have a lower resale value.”

Read on to see the lists of the best and worst car rental companies in America; you can also get more information about JD Power survey here.

Car Rental Companies Ranked in America

  1. Company
  2. national
  3. Alamo
  4. Hertz
  5. Avis
  6. dollars
  7. Budget
  8. economical

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