Rental car rates
The Average Cost of a Rental Car
It is about as difficult to determine the average cost of a rental car as it is to calculate the average cost of a sandwich in North America. Put another way, it is impossible to accomplish. Rental car costs vary between car rental companies, but an identical car can cost you different amounts in different offices of the same rental company, and many other factors beyond the model of the car also affect rates.
Factors in Car Rental Costs
If you have ever called around to try to find a better rate for a rental car, you know how much the prices vary even within one rental company. The airport offers one fairly low rate plus numerous fees that push the rental amount sky high. The downtown location’s quote is high. The location most convenient to you is entirely sold out, but that one on the far side of town has the same car for yet another rate.
And, if you try the very next day, the odds are you will get another set of quotes. Ditto if you go to other rental car companies in the same town. Call around the state or around the country and you’ll be tearing out your hair. Suffice it to say that car rental rates vary rental company to rental company, office to office, region to region and state to state, as well as between weekdays and weekends.
You can get better rates per day if you rent for a week or a month in some companies, and if you hold an AAA card or have membership in another organization that offers discounts, you may get a lower rate in some places. Government employees and corporate workers can get lower rates, and some companies give reduced rates to military personnel. Some car rental companies have “club” membership. If you join the Hertz club for example, you get rates that are considerably lower than you would without the club membership.
Other Factors in Determining Price
The customer’s age sometimes plays a role in the final car rental bill. Likewise, any add-ons like insurance and damage waivers add to the expense – not to mention the class of car you decide to rent. Super economy versus luxury, two-door versus four-door, GPS or no GPS – all these influence the cost the customer will pay per day for the car.
The cost of a car rental is impacted by how far in advance you reserve the car rental. Same day rentals are often way more expensive. These days, you often get a lower price by prepaying, but you’ll want to check on what happens if you cancel.
Another factor that bumps up your car rental rate is dropping off the car at a different town or even a different location within the same town than that from which you rented it. Sometimes a drop-off fee can be in the hundreds of dollars.