Top 10 Most Expensive Cities in the US to Rent a Car

Top 10 Most Expensive Cities in the US to Rent a Car

Share the article

Last updated 15 minutes ago

Rental cars are pricey at the moment. According to AAA, rental car prices have increased by about $40 per day compared to the cost of 2019. The worst car rental prices in 2021 were, which were 34% higher than this year. However, the costs are still high. Knowing which cities have the highest cost for rental cars can help some travelers think of alternative modes of transport upon arrival. A recent study by has revealed 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 started to become the collective reality, rental car companies sold a large portion of their inventory to keep costs down. No one was traveling, so it made sense that they eliminated unnecessary maintenance costs. However, another consequence of Covid was waiting just around the corner in the form of a global microchip shortage, resulting in fewer new cars being produced. For example, car rental companies have not been able to replenish their stock because there are no cars for sale. Finally, what this means for travelers is that costs have increased significantly from 2019 levels.

Man signing a car rental agreement for rental carMan signing a car rental agreement for rental car

The study

The study looked at the August car rental rates of the top 100 US airports. A comparison of the average weekly rates for the cheapest available car between August 1st and August 31st was conducted to find the most expensive cities for car rental. Finally, the only car rental companies involved in the investigation were those at the airport or the airport car rental center.

Airport car rental kiosks with crowds of peopleAirport car rental kiosks with crowds of people

Top 10 Most Expensive Cities in the US to Rent a Car

1) Anchorage, Alaska (ANC) – $949 Avg. Weekly rate

2) Spokane, Washington (GEG) – $765 Avg. Weekly rate

3) Portland, Maine (PWM) – $737 Avg. Weekly rate

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

5) Fayetteville, Arkansas (XNA) – $626 Avg. Weekly rate

6) Charleston, South Carolina (CHS) – $616 Avg. Weekly rate

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

8) Albany, New York (ALB) – $576 Avg. Weekly rate

9) Des Moines, Iowa (DSM) – $573 Avg. Weekly rate

10) Minneapolis, Minnesota (MSP) – $571 Avg. Weekly rate

Skyline of Anchorage AlaskaSkyline of Anchorage Alaska

How can travelers save?

The main way to save on a rental car would be to not buy one at all. Suppose your destination has good public transport or is very walkable. In that case, it might be worth using a taxi or uber every now and then to save some serious money. While renting a car offers more flexibility and independence when traveling, you may find that you hardly use the rental car for certain destinations.


Another tip to save on a rental car is to book early and not book directly at the airport. Although this study only looked at the prices of car rental centers at airports, it is still a good indication that prices are high for the area. However, you may be able to save some money by taking an uber to a rental car company farther from the airport.


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

Man checking credit card benefitsMan checking credit card benefits

Do a thorough check

According to a recent survey, only 43% of customers report no damage to the vehicle during the initial damage inspection. This can lead to damage being attributed to the customer, even if it is not their fault. Unfortunately, this can mean anything from costs to legal action. Be sure to inspect the vehicle thoroughly before you leave. Take photos, videos and document everything. It would be a shame to make an effort to cut costs only to have damage costs that are not your fault are charged to your account when returning the vehicle.

↓ Join the community ↓

The Travel Off Path Community FB Group has all the latest reopening news, conversations and Q&As taking place daily!


Enter your email address to subscribe to the latest Travel Off Path travel news delivered straight to your inbox

Disclaimer: Current Travel Rules and Restrictions is subject to change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Before travelling, please contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm the entry of your nationality and/or any changes to the travel requirements. Travel Off Path does not approve travel against government advice