With Prices Falling, Car Rentals Are Up Across Europe
U.S. outbound travelers found renting a car this summer to be much more affordable compared to summer 2014, according to a just-released study by Auto Europe. The study, which tracked car rental rates and pickup destinations of U.S. residents traveling abroad, found that if current trends continue, fall 2015 is on track to best fall 2014.
When looking at the overall retail price of a mid-sized vehicle in the most popular pickup cities, rental rates were down by as much as 24 percent (Florence) with significant decreases in pricing in Dublin (23 percent), Rome (20 percent), and London and Paris, which both saw a 13 percent drop. Overall, in both 2014 and 2015, Rome was the most expensive city in which to rent a car, while London was the least expensive both this year and last.
“As the first aggregator in the car rental industry, dating back to 1954, we have been tracking the trends of travelers for over 60 years,” said Auto Europe’s Chief Marketing Officer, Scott Braun. “With the stronger position of the dollar against the Euro, we were not surprised that this summer was an exceptionally strong one for car rentals in Europe from U.S. outbound travelers.”
When reviewing rates by country, rental rates were also down significantly. Auto Europe compared the cost of a 7-day compact car booking in 2014 and 2015 and found that rates in Italy dropped by 36 percent compared with the same time period last year.
The UK and France saw prices drop 21 percent and 18 percent respectively, while Germany and Spain saw more modest price decreases of 15 percent and 10 percent. Not surprisingly, Italy once again was the most expensive country in which to rent a car for U.S. travelers, while the UK remained the least expensive.
Despite overall higher prices, Italy proved to be the most popular destination for car rentals by U.S. citizens traveling overseas this past summer. Auto Europe's annual review of U.S. residents' summer travel habits found car rentals in Italy accounted for almost a quarter (24 percent) of all summer 2015 bookings, followed by France (18 percent), the United Kingdom (11 percent), Germany and Spain (tied with 8 percent) and Ireland (7 percent). Paris (5.8 percent) ranked as the most popular pickup city for U.S. travelers this summer, edging out Dublin (5.1 percent), Florence (5 percent), Rome (5 percent) and London (4.3 percent).
Auto Europe also examined the travel habits of U.S. travelers according to region. The study found that travelers from the Northeast (32 percent) and West (30 percent) were the most likely to rent a car while traveling abroad. New Yorkers, in particular, accounted for more than 11 percent of U.S. summer rentals.
Interestingly, the Northeast was the only region to include Lisbon within their top five pickup cities. The Western United States represented, perhaps, the greatest extremes with Californians (18 percent) booking the most out of any state, and Wyoming (6 percent) booking the least, coming in a near-tie with North Dakota.
Residents of the Southeast, who accounted for 16 percent of all U.S. reservations abroad, most frequently picked up their car in Paris. Accounting for more than 13 percent of all U.S. bookings, the Midwest was notable for being the only region to select Dublin as their preferred spot from which to pick up a rental car. The Southwest, with the fewest states, not surprisingly accounted for only 7 percent of all U.S. summer rentals abroad.
For more informaton, visit Auto Europe.
More by Kristina Rundquist
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