People Are Surprisingly Very Happy with Car Rentals Right Now

After a few years of really rough conditions, the public perception of rental cars is improving.

The pandemic had a lot of negative impacts on the travel industry, but one of the most severe and seemingly long lasting was on the car rental experience. The process of renting a car was fraught—prices were exorbitantly high, there was a shortage of inventory, and there were not enough employees. It wasn't uncommon to show up after making a rental reservation only to find that there was no car available.

But, according to the 2023 J.D. Power North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study that dropped this week, overall customer satisfaction with rental car companies increased by 14 points on a 1,000-point scale this year. The improved rating can be attributed to more stabilized pricing, increased vehicle inventory, and improved staffing, according to J.D. Power.

"The post-pandemic period has been tough for North American rental car companies and their customers, but now that things have stabilized, customer satisfaction has started to increase significantly," said Michael Taylor, managing director of travel, hospitality and retail at J.D. Power, in a statement. "Given the tight correlation we see between vehicle availability, price and customer satisfaction, it's going to be important to keep an eye on the UAW strike as a potential supply chain issue that could negatively affect customer satisfaction during the course of the next year."

The findings are based on a survey of 8,632 business and leisure travelers who rented and picked up vehicles from airports, and the survey was conducted between conducted between August 2022 and August 2023. Enterprise came in as the car rental company with the highest customer satisfaction, for the third year in a row. You can see the complete ranking below.

jd power ranking rental car companies 2023
Courtesy of JD Power

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. She holds a bachelor's and master's degree in Journalism from NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. She's worked in digital media for seven years, and before working at Thrillist, she wrote for Mic, The Cut, The Fader, Vice, and other publications. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.