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Rental Car Crisis on Kauai: What you need to know.

You may have heard about the current rental car “crisis” on Kauai. If you are planning a trip to Kauai, it’s important to understand how this shortage of rental cars could impact your trip and what alternatives are available if you’re not able to reserve a car for your visit.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, an average of 28,000 visitors arrived on Kauai each day. At the time, Kauai had a rental car fleet of approximately 10,000-11,000 vehicles  to meet the visitor demand.

When the COVID-19 pandemic halted travel to the state of Hawaii, there was no longer a demand for rental cars. As a result, car rental companies moved a large portion of their fleet off to the mainland and also sold some of their vehicles. It is estimated that Kauai only has 60% of their pre-COVID rental fleet.

Tourism has now returned to the islands with visitor arrival rates comparable to pre-pandemic levels, but there continues to be a reduced supply of rental cars. While new shipments of cars are slowly arriving on island, it could take until the end of the year before the rental car fleet is fully replenished. Contributing to this crisis is the nationwide shortage of computer chips which makes it difficult for rental companies to purchase new replacement vehicles.

So how does this impact your trip to Kauai?

A trip to Kauai may not look the same as before, but there are still many ways you can enjoy your visit without a rental car if you do your research, plan ahead, and remain flexible.

If you are not able to reserve a car or you would like to try something different, there are other ways you can get around Kauai.

There are several shuttle options that provide transportation from the Lihue (LIH) airport, including:

In addition to shuttles, there are also taxi services and ride shares that can bring your from the airport to your accommodation, or to another destination around the island.

Once you have made it to your accommodations, you can get around Kauai using public transportation or local area shuttles. Bikes are also a popular way to get around many of the visitor destination areas and are available to rent around the island. To learn more about these options, visit the Transportation Options page>