- Associated Press - Friday, June 10, 2016

BEND, Ore. (AP) - With tourism picking up for the summer season in Central Oregon, several rental car agencies are out of vehicles.

Rental car managers said the shortage can be attributed to tourism, population growth and the closure of the Redmond Airport last month, The Bulletin reported (https://is.gd/fpp990 ).

“There’s a lot of demand in this area,” said Alex Perkins, the manager of an Enterprise in Bend. “There is a supply-and-demand problem where we can’t get enough vehicles to sustain the growth of Oregon.”

According to the U.S. Census, Oregon’s population has increased by 5.2 percent from 2010 to 2015, with Deschutes County seeing an 11 percent increase.

No cars are currently available at the Hertz, Enterprise, Avis or Budget rental car locations in Bend or at the Redmond Airport, though the agencies expect vehicles to be available soon. Bend and Redmond have 10 rental car locations, but many of those locations share fleets.

“Getting into summertime, the demand is a lot higher,” said Hertz Location Manager Tanner Davis. “The need is a lot higher especially right now. I do know in the past we haven’t been this busy.”

Aaron Phelps, with the Redmond Airport Enterprise, said the inventory was impacted by the airport’s closure in May.

Without rental cars, there are few options for carless visitors to get around in Central Oregon. Popular rideshare alternatives like Uber, Lyft and Zipcar do not operate in Bend or Redmond.

The tourism agency Visit Bend estimates between 2.5 million and 3 million people traveled to the city in 2015. Of those visitors, about 75 percent traveled by car. Of the ones who flew, 66 percent drove a rental to Bend from other airports, meaning they didn’t need a rental car.

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Information from: The Bulletin, http://www.bendbulletin.com

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