Supply chain problems are causing a shortage in many auto parts, making fewer cars available and pushing up prices for the vehicles that are out there. This in turn is prompting a “rental car apocalypse” – a scarcity of vehicles to rent and higher prices for the rental cars that are available.
The solution is to make more cars available to rent. It’s already happening through new platforms that allow people to rent out their own vehicles when they aren’t using them. It’s a win-win: Those looking to rent have more options and those looking to earn a little extra money can do it.
The idea is already up and running. Turo, the largest of the peer-to-peer rental companies, has vehicles available to rent in Michigan. But the Legislature is looking to regulate this new industry, and some members have introduced a package of bills to do so.
House bills 4915, 4916 and 4917, with a bipartisan list of co-sponsors, would create the Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing Program Act. The package would:
Most of this is unobjectionable. They’re either things that are already being done or should be required. (Insurers need this information and should get to choose whether to cover vehicles taking part in this activity). The taxing provision must be fair across the board. State policy should not favor either companies or individuals who rent out vehicles.
But the airport provision is unnecessary. Airports already have authority to enter into agreements with individuals and companies who use their property or services – presumably, rental companies already have those types of agreements. And the mandate in the bills says that even a person who rents a vehicle to drive from home to airport – which uses only a minimal amount of airport facilities or services – will essentially be treated like a company renting out space at the airport. That is overly intrusive and anti-competitive.
It’s a good idea for the Michigan Legislature to have a loose regulatory structure to allow people to rent out their own vehicles. But it should do so in a way that is as unobtrusive as possible.
Permission to reprint this blog post in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author (or authors) and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy are properly cited.
Get insightful commentary and the most reliable research on Michigan issues sent straight to your inbox.
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonprofit research and educational institute that advances the principles of free markets and limited government. Through our research and education programs, we challenge government overreach and advocate for a free-market approach to public policy that frees people to realize their potential and dreams.
Please consider contributing to our work to advance a freer and more prosperous state.
Donate | About | Blog | Pressroom | Publications | Careers | Site Map | Email Signup | Contact