There has been a longstanding tradition among car rental agencies to push renters up to bigger, more expensive models. Not that it was all that difficult to do, considering that Americans tend to prefer larger vehicles when all other aspects are equal. Now, though, not all of those aspects are equal, as bigger vehicles are usually thirstier vehicles and the renter is required to return the vehicle with a full tank of gas. So, the act of stepping up to a Hemi-powered Dodge Charger from a four-banger equipped Caliber no longer holds the allure that it once did.
A side effect of users sticking to their smaller vehicle choices is a compact car shortage among rental agencies. This, of course, only makes matters worse as the companies will then do nearly anything to move the larger metal. One other result of the shortage is an increase in the cost to rent a small car and a corresponding decrease in cost to rent an SUV or minivan, which could help offset the higher gas bill.
[Source: ABC News]