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Rental car struggles create new opportunities for car-sharing app

Avail is like Airbnb, but for your car. It puts unused cars on the road and money into car owners' pockets.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — If you're in need of a car or want to make some extra cash, there's a new option in Charlotte. It comes as the rental car industry is struggling with low inventory and high demand. 

“Our clients are really challenged getting rental cars these days, it’s very expensive even when you can find them and they’re hard to find,” Roni Kasten Fishkin, the director of marketing and vendor relations for Mann Travels, said. 

Fishkin said there are three main reasons why getting a rental car is so difficult right now. 

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“Pent up desire to get back on the road is strong so there’s more people who want cars right now, they are also more comfortable in some cases taking a driving vacation in the United States, so there’s a premium, and the third thing is there’s a shortage of cars because companies sold their fleets off during the beginning of the pandemic to keep extra cash," Fishkin said.

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Now, a company called Avail is trying to fix that. It's like Airbnb but for your car. It puts unused cars on the road and money into car owners' pockets. 

It's simple, you drop your car off at the Business Valet Parking Deck at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. They then list it on their app or online. When someone wants to rent your car, they pick it up at the airport and return it when they're done.

“This just brings another option to the table for those that want to go on a short trip around the area or flying into town," Avail field operations manager David Nipper said. 

Nipper said many travelers are steering towards cars and sharing services because it's easy and generally less expensive. 

WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to the Defenders team by emailing money@wcnc.com.

“Insurance is all fully protected by our company, we are owned by Allstate, they do cover the rentals, that’s another part of the convenience and quickness factor cause were not going to ask you to buy our insurance," Nipper said.

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Avail has a long list of eligibility requirements your car must meet if you want to share it.

  • Be a model year 2011 or newer
  • Have fewer than 125,000 miles
  • Have an automatic transmission and be gas-powered
  • Have a current, valid registration in the glove compartment
  • Have a clean title
  • Be valued at under $100,000
  • Have no open recalls
  • Seat fewer than 10 people

For more information visit their website. If this isn't the option for you, travel agents suggest you book your car rental far in advance.

Contact Lexi Wilson at lwilson@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.   

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