Renting a car in the United States has been a difficult proposition for most of the country’s history, especially for older generations who have been reluctant to leave their homes in a rental car.
Hawaii is no exception.
The state’s national automotive rental company, Firefly Car Rental, said it has seen an uptick in its business with older residents.
The company’s first quarter 2017 revenue was $2.6 million, and it expects to increase revenue this year to $5 million.
The company has also seen an increase in the number of rental cars being picked up in the state, which has about 2,300 rental cars.
Firefly also has a fleet of two new cars for its rental car fleet, one for the Honolulu area and another for the Kailua-Kona region.
“It’s really hard to find a rental that’s comfortable to rent, that is really comfortable to drive and that is not going to break the bank,” said Paul Schiller, chief operating officer at Firefly.
Firefly is the second-largest car rental in Hawaii, behind Hainan Car Rentals.
It said its rental cars range from $3,400 to $30,000.
The Hawaiian Islands, which are located on the tip of the Pacific, are the home to some of the fastest growing rental markets in the world, according to rental car analytics company CompareRentals, with the most cars coming from Hainana.
A growing number of older residents are opting to rent cars for longer periods of time, even though they might not have the ability to travel the distance or stay in one spot.
“We think the number one thing is a higher income level,” said Hainanee Sato, a member of the company’s board of directors.
“The amount of time they can afford to spend in a vehicle and the time it takes to drive it, is going to increase.”
While Hawaii’s rental car market is growing, there are some hurdles to overcome before people are able to rent their cars in the Hawaiian Islands.
There are only two public car rental companies, FireFly and Hainany, and they have to follow strict policies that require renters to use their vehicles only for short periods of times.
The majority of rental car owners are elderly, according the Hawaii Association of Realtors.
Those who are not can be charged an additional fee, but not much of an increase over their rental car rates, according with a company spokesman.
Hawaii also does not offer a car rental subsidy program, and many older people rely on a state-run car sharing program, said Sato.
That program has become a huge hit for the state’s rental industry, he said.
A national car sharing company, Zipcar, operates in more than 20 countries and has more than 2.2 million cars in service.
It has about 1.5 million drivers, including many veterans who have not yet retired.