Rental car rates have more than doubled in the past year

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Courtesy Don Hankins/Flickr

Holy moly! Travelers are paying through the nose for car rentals right now.

For a one-week compact rental reserved 7 days in advance, the average rate at major U.S. airports has more than doubled since last year.

Specifically, if you reserved last Monday for a rental starting today, the average is $347.86. The same scenario in the fourth week of September 2008 would have cost $157.52. That's an increase of 121 percent.

"Rates have been through the roof," says Neil Abrams, whose market research firm Abrams Consulting Group keeps tabs on car rental statistics. "This is not an anomaly. Prices have just kept rising far beyond what we've seen in the past."

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