Austin facing a rental car shortage after Harvey

Most rental cars sent to Houston to help after Harvey flooded out countless vehicles

Hertz customer parking at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (KXAN Photo)
Hertz customer parking at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Harvey’s impact continues to be felt across Texas, many times in every day situations Texans might not expect. In Austin, many are finding out that the hurricane has created shortages in rental car supply.

At Austin Bergstrom International Airport, rental counter employees say they’re extremely short on vehicles after the majority were sent to Houston, where countless cars were flooded out.

Nat Rea traveled to Austin to rent a car after that happened to his truck.

“My truck is in Houston and it’s underwater so I had no choice,” he said, while dropping off the car he’d rented from Avis at ABIA.

Rea said he was able to rent a car earlier in the week, but when dropping it back off Thursday, he saw that the rental lot was nearly empty.

“They were down to very few vehicles left,” he said.

At the airport, Hertz employees said Thursday they only had a limited number of compact cars available to rent out. In other parts of Austin, the supply is even worse. Employees at the Hertz on 10th Street told KXAN they’re currently not taking any reservations for rentals lasting less than 30 days, even through insurance companies after wrecks.

Employees at Hertz’s Cedar Park location say they’re still working with insurance companies, but those are the only reservations they’re allowing at this time.

Enterprise locations on Lamar Boulevard are also without any more available vehicles for the weekend. According to Enterprise booking agents, only the location on Colorado Street is still taking reservations for rentals this weekend.

“It’s unfortunate for people trying to rent a car,” said Kathy Burleson, who was lucky enough to find a rental at ABIA Thursday, “But everybody’s cars are flooded, their homes are flooded, so I’m not surprised.”

Customers who were able to secure rentals at ABIA earlier in the week told KXAN they were warned vehicles would only be rented out with a half tank of gas, due to the gas shortage after Harvey.

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