Car-Rental Firms Find Post-Storm Surge

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NEW YORK (UPI) — Rental cars companies said Hurricane Sandy stirred up business after East Coast travelers were stranded with flight cancellations.

A high percentage of car-rental customers were looking for one-way passage, which can present a problem for rental companies, especially as demand increases in hurricane -devastated areas and rentals are more frequently driven away from those locations, USA Today reported Friday.

“A storm such as this changes our whole rental pattern,” said Richard Broome, a spokesman for Hertz.

Enterprise Holdings, which operates three rental brands — Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent A Car and National Car Rental — said demand for one-way rentals had risen 40 percent since Hurricane Sandy swept through the East Coast Monday and Tuesday, causing an estimated $20 billion in damage.

Enterprise spokeswoman Laura Bryant said reports of excessive car-rental costs during the storm were likely inaccurate.

“This is a time to make friends, not profits,” Bryant said. “Absolutely no price increases because of the storm,” she added.

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