By Mike Timmermann, clarkhoward.com
If you do a lot of traveling, you know that the cost of renting a car can vary drastically – depending heavily on supply and demand for vehicles at that time.
And a survey from CheapCarRental.net found there are geographic differences as well.
How car rental costs vary by location
Comparing 50 major U.S. cities, the analysis found renters in Philadelphia can expect to pay $83 a day for the cheapest available vehicle. On the other hand, Orlando had the least expensive rate, $26 per day.
10 most expensive cities
- Philadelphia: $83
- Seattle: $81
- Boston: $80
- Chicago: $73
- Detroit: $71
- Portland: $69
- Cincinnati: $67
- Indianapolis: $61
- Denver: $61
- Cleveland: $60
10 least expensive cities
- Orlando: $26
- Miami: $28
- Tampa: $30
- Fort Lauderdale: $32
- San Diego: $40
- Los Angeles: $41
- Las Vegas: $41
- Honolulu: $42
- Phoenix: $42
- Charlotte: $43
These rates are for the least expensive car available in each city, so if you’re looking for a luxury sedan or an SUV, you’re going to be paying an even higher price per day.
You can check out the list of all 50 cities on CheapCarRental.net.
Getting the best rental car rate
Clark’s tested and proven method for getting the lowest car rental rate has been to book the vehicle in advance and then re-shop the rate the week before your reservation.
The website AutoSlash.com automates this process and says it’ll take care of the re-booking for you.
Aside from the daily rate of the car, rental companies will try to get you to pay a bunch of extra fees at the counter, but Clark says most of them are junk.
Here are his top 3 tips:
- Check with your auto insurer to see if you’re covered for temporary use of a rental car to avoid upcharges. Your credit card may also cover what your insurance doesn’t.
- Take pictures of the car to note any damage to the vehicle prior to leaving the lot.
- Before returning the vehicle, always fill up the car’s gas tank yourself because the car rental agency will charge you a premium rate if they have to.