The logo of the rental company Hertz. If the proposed merger goes through, there will be only three big car rental companies. - 

Jeremy Hobson: The rental car company Hertz said this morning it is buying Dollar Thrifty for 2.3 billion dollars.

It's just the latest consolidation in an industry that has seen choice and competition dwindle in
recent years.

Marketplace's Mark Garrison reports on what this could mean next time you rent a car.

Mark Garrison: If you think you have a lot of choices in car rentals, you’re wrong. The latest deal caps a long trend of mergers. If it goes through, just three big players will dominate: Hertz, Avis Budget and Enterprise. They own most American car rental brands you’ve heard of. Travel expert Pauline Frommer says this is bad news for customers.

Pauline Frommer: Whenever we see this type of consolidation, prices tend to rise. As most people probably have noticed, they’ve gone up dramatically in the last couple of years.

Reduced competition is part of this. Also, big rental car companies have delisted themselves from some search engines. So it’s harder to sniff out deals. But don’t blame everything on car rental companies. Frommer says cities under budget pressure are reaching into the pockets of tourists.

Frommer: Local municipalities charging outrageous taxes on rentals.

Fewer choices and more fees. It all adds up to heftier bills when you need wheels.

Follow Mark Garrison at @GarrisonMark