The total number of hire cars has fallen by some 50,000. | Gemma Andreu

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Car-hire firms in the Balearics are in broad agreement with the Balearic government regarding limits to the number of hire cars on the islands.

The president of the AEVAB vehicle rental association in the Balearics, Ramon Reus, says: "We have spoken with the government about trying to put a moratorium on all the islands, because we can see that in Formentera this is working. The 70,000 to 75,000 cars that there are now are enough."

A cap on the number of hire cars would be in line with the government's energy transition and climate change plan. Under this plan, the intention is for island councils to be able to set a limit on the number of cars entering each island. Pep Malagrava, the director-general for energy and climate change, says that the government needs to establish criteria. Based on these, each island would determine how many cars it can support.

Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza would therefore join Formentera in stipulating limits on how many vehicles can enter - hire cars in particular. "We believe that limits must be set because you cannot grow in an unlimited way if you want to be sustainable," adds Malagrava.

At present, the hire-car fleet is considerably lower than it was before the pandemic. There were some 120,000 vehicles. The pandemic and the impact on tourism led to the disappearance of almost 50,000 cars, and a significant part of the islands' car-hire sector believes that the current numbers should not be exceeded again.

Around 75,000 would equate to some seven per cent of all vehicles in the Balearics, Reus noting that, in general, the congestion on roads in the Balearics "is not the fault of hire cars". With more than a million vehicles, excluding hire cars, there is roughly one vehicle for every inhabitant of the islands.

Antoni Masferrer, the president of Baleval, the other car-hire association in the Balearics, says that they are still waiting for the government to make specific proposals and to indicate how new regulations would correspond to Spanish and European legislation.

Meanwhile, Malagrava insists that "we have to decarbonise" the total fleet of vehicles and that achieving this will require an improvement in public transport.