The large car rental companies and the general decline in demand this summer has hit the Balearic independent car hire market hard. Business this summer is down by as much as 25 per cent on last year and, according to the vice-president of the Balearic Car Rental Association, Andreu Artigues, dropping demand and stiff competition are the small, independent rental companies' biggest threat. Andreu Artigues said that the market is being dominated by 14 of the large hire car companies which are operating a total fleet of 21'000 vehicles out of large vehicle pools. But the independent companies have an average sized fleet of 30 vehicles and, especially in the case of Palma, have nowhere to station their vehicles because of new parking legislation. Palma council has banned hire cars which are not being used from being parked in the city's streets. When local councils introduce laws prohibiting the parking of hire cars in the streets, it is a direct attack on small businesses, Artigues said. The Balearics is where the car hire industry functions the worst in Spain, he added, pointing out that because of the competition and the huge market, rental prices are ridiculous and without doubt, the cheapest in Spain.