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Why are Hawaii visitors cruising around in U-Hauls? Blame the pandemic

Updated: Apr. 22, 2021 at 12:56 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the state reopens and many tourists return, there are not enough rental cars to meet the demand.

That’s driving up the price of rentals and leading some visitors to get creative.

Some are even turning to U-Hauls to get around the islands.

“The uptick from tourism, the uptick from companies opening back up, from the economy restarting — everybody seems to need a vehicle,” said U-Haul Marketing President Kaleo Alau.

Alau said Hawaii U-Haul facilities are the busiest they’ve been in years.

“Most of the time they’re saying that they can’t get a vehicle from any of the rental spots. They’re all sold out,” Alau said.

[Read more: $1,000 a day to rent a car? Low supply, surging demand are pushing up prices in Hawaii]

Last month, the cheapest rental car on Maui was a Toyota Camry for $722 a day.

“We had relatives from out of town come in and one couldn’t even find anything,” said Kihei resident Dave Morrell.

Alau said visitors are calling to ask for pickup trucks, cargo vans and even box trucks.

Morrell is worried there may not be enough vehicles for people who actually need them for hauling.

“They don’t have any box trucks today because I wanted to rent one. So, I guess they’re all out with tourists,” he said.

Alau said he is doing what he can to encourage using his trucks only for moving.

“Sometimes there are people who are like, ‘Can I rent this vehicle for a month?’ And I just tell them that’s not going to happen.”

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