Car Rental Rates: 10 Cheapest and Most Expensive Cities

renting a car road trip

Detroit surges to the top as most expensive car rental city in the U.S.

What a difference a year makes. Recent stats compiled by CheapCarRental and released on August 6 reveal that Detroit is now the most expensive car rental location in the U.S, while Orlando returned to the lowest rates after being unseated by Miami a year ago.

All in all, car rental rates are down on average across the United States, likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CheapCarRental’s recent survey looked at 50 destinations across the country and the car rental rates across national car rental companies across those destinations. The rates were compared at pick-up locations both in urban huts and at airports.

Families visiting Miami can easily rent a vehicle for $23 a day on average, a dollar less than the $24 rate you can get in Orlando, which fell to second spot on the CheapCarRental list. Rounding out the top five were Jacksonville ($26), Las Vegas ($31) and Los Angeles ($32).

Rates for rental cars are down approximately 15% this year, with some cities such as Boston and Seattle seeing drops of nearly 40% in rates. In spite of road trips emerging as vacation trend this summer, that is not compensating for the loss in demand related to air travel.

Detroit, Memphis and Philadelphia all average over $400 for weekly rental

As for most expensive, CheapCarRental saw drastic shifts in its most expensive cities from a year ago, with Detroit and Memphis, who weren’t even listed in the top 10 last year, grabbing the no.1 and no.2 spots.

Detroit’s average weekly car rental rate was estimated at $446 for the most affordable available rental car. Memphis was not far behind at $425, with Philadelphia also surging up on the list, now at third with an average weekly rate of $406.

Orlando remains cheapest city

While the list of expensive cities saw massive change, Orlando held steady as the city with the cheapest rental rates, with average prices totaling $120 a week. Los Angeles came in a close second at $130 a week. This falls in line with relatively affordable rates across California and Florida with rates generally remaining below $200 a week.

All that said, you can save a few bucks by avoiding airport rental car offices entirely suggest, travel experts who also recommend shopping around for bargains and booking well in advance to take advantage of lower rates. Some suggest booking with several rental companies at once, and then dropping them or rebooking if you see considerable drops in rates until you find one that’s best for you. And, finally check your car insurance policies to determine what rental coverage you might or might not need to save even more.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at 2020’s most expensive and cheapest cities for weekly rental rates.

Top 10 Most Expensive Car Rental Cities In America

Car Rental Rates: 10 Cheapest and Most Expensive Cities in the United States


1. Detroit, MI – $446

2. Memphis, TN – $425

3. Philadelphia, PA – $406

4. Kansas City, MO – $385

5. Pittsburgh, PA – $352

6. Indianapolis, IN – $331

7. Sacramento, CA – $329

8. New York City, NY – $326

9. Anchorage, AK – $325

10. Albuquerque, NM $316

Top 10 Cheapest Car Rental Cities In America

Miami Cheapest Car Rental City

1. Orlando, FL – $120

2. Los Angeles, CA – $130

3. Tampa Bay, FL – $157

4. Miami, FL – $163

5. Columbus, OH – $168

6. Las Vegas, NV – $149

7. San Diego, CA – $197

8. San Francisco, CA – $198

9. St. Louis, MO – $199

10. Oakland, CA – $200

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