Top 10 most expensive US cities to rent a car

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Rental cars are currently expensive. Rental car prices have increased by about $40 per day compared to 2019, according to AAA. 2021 saw the worst rental car prices, which were 34% higher than this year. However, the cost is still high. Knowing which cities have the highest car rental costs can help some travelers think of alternative modes of transport upon arrival. A recent study by has identified the top 10 most expensive US cities to rent a car.

Man loads luggage into a rental car

Why are the costs so high?

As Covid began to become a collective reality, rental car companies sold much of their inventory to keep costs down. Since nobody was out and about, it made sense to eliminate unnecessary maintenance costs. However, another consequence of Covid was waiting around the corner in the form of a global shortage of microchips, resulting in fewer new cars being produced. As a result, rental car companies were unable to replenish their inventories because there were no cars to buy. Finally, for travelers, this means that costs have increased significantly compared to 2019.

Man signs rental car contract in front of rental car

The study

The study examined rental car prices for the month of August at the top 100 US airports. A comparison of average weekly prices for the cheapest car available between 01.01St and 31.08St was carried out to find the most expensive cities for car rental. Finally, only the car rental companies based at the airport or in the airport car rental center were considered in the study.

Car rental kiosks at the airport with crowds

Top 10 most expensive US cities to rent a car

1) Anchorage, Alaska (ANC) – $949 average. weekly rate

2) Spokane, Wash. (GEG) – $765 average. weekly rate

3) Portland, Maine (PWM) – $737 average. weekly rate

4) Little Rock, Arkansas (LIT) – $627 Avg. weekly rate

5) Fayetteville, Arkansas (XNA) – $626 average. weekly rate

6) Charleston, SC (CHS) – $616 average. weekly rate

7) Lihue, Hawaii (LIH) – $607 Avg. weekly rate

8) Albany, New York (ALB) – $576 average. weekly rate

9) Des Moines, Iowa (DSM) – $573 avg. weekly rate

10) Minneapolis, Minnesota (MSP) – $571 avg. weekly rate

Anchorage Alaska skyline

How can travelers save?

The number one way to save on a rental car is by not buying a rental car. Suppose your destination has good public transport or is very walkable. In that case, it may be worth relying on the occasional cab or Uber to save some cash. While renting a car offers more flexibility and independence when traveling, you may find that you rarely use renting for certain destinations.

Woman Mask Bus

Another tip for saving on rentals would be to book early and avoid booking directly at the airport. Although this study only looked at airport car rental pricing, it is still a good indication that prices are high for the region. However, you might be able to save some money by taking an Uber to a rental company further from the airport.

Cars Parking Rental

One final tip, which may not apply to all travelers, is to take advantage of your credit card. Many credit cards offer rental car insurance protection as a card user benefit. Travelers should check with their credit card company and ensure they fully understand the benefit before deciding to forgo the coverage offered by the rental car company. However, this can be an excellent way to reduce the cost of renting a vehicle.

Man checking credit card benefits

Do a thorough check

According to a recent survey, only 43% of customers do not report any damage they see on the vehicle during the initial damage inspection. This can result in damage being attributed to the customer, even if he is not at fault. Unfortunately, this can mean anything from fees to legal action. Be sure to inspect the vehicle thoroughly before driving. Take photos, videos and document everything. It would be unfortunate for you to bother trying to cut costs only to have damage charges on your bill when you return the vehicle through no fault of your own.

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Disclaimer: Current Travel Rules and Restrictions are subject to change without prior notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Before travelling, check with your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm entry of your nationality and/or any changes in travel requirements. Travel Off Path does not endorse travel contrary to government advice

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