The big five car-hire firms are responsible for over 7,000 jobs. | Patricia Lozano - Archive

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The Aneval national association of vehicle hire companies says that its members contribute 256 million euros to Balearics GDP on an annual basis - one per cent of the total.

Aneval comprises the five main car-rental firms - Avis, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt. As well as the 256 million (100 million indirectly), there are 4.3 million euros social security, while there are 7,700 jobs linked directly or indirectly to these firms' activities.

This information comes from a report presented by consultants KPMG, who studied the Aneval contribution in light of the Balearic government's refusal to delay the introduction of obligatory percentages for electric vehicles in 2020 - 0.6% of fleets and two per cent of purchases.

The Aneval companies have some 25,800 vehicles in the Balearics during the main tourism season. Problems with "saturation" in the summer are for reasons other than car hire. Congestion on roads is due to wide "residential dispersion" and inadequate public transport. This explains why six out of ten journeys are made using private cars. The Balearics have the sixth highest population density among regions of Spain, and there has been a trend in recent years for people to move to developments away from main centres for services; this has led to an increase in the number of vehicles.

In the Balearics there are 913 vehicles for every 1,000 inhabitants, the highest number in Spain and well above the national average of 700. Of these 913, 70% are cars. There are 1.94 kilometres of road for every 1,000 people, but at national level there are 3.5 kilometres.

Car rental helps to make up for the deficiencies in public transport, but represents just nine per cent of all journeys. José Luís Sanz, the Aneval corporate director, says that car rental acts as a key link for mobility in the Balearics. It is an alternative to public transport and contributes to decongestion of roads while also providing accessibility to the whole of the Balearics, "significantly improving the experience of both tourists and residents and enabling economic development for areas cut off from public transport".