Smart Motorist » How Much to Rent a Car: 7 Elements Affecting the Price

How Much to Rent a Car: 7 Elements Affecting the Price

Having a lot of choices and possibilities is convenient but can be quite tricky and tiring sometimes. One of the crucial questions we will discuss here is how much does it cost to rent a car. Unfortunately, it is not a simple question since the competition of car companies is significant.

Therefore, you need to pay extra attention to every detail to close a good deal, including the most crucial factor – your time. My intention here is to help you find the best options available. That way, you will avoid that renting the vehicle becomes a real nightmare.

How Much Does It Cost to Rent A Car? 7 Elements Affecting the Price

Not every car rent is the same, and there are no rules written in stone. Several aspects can influence the price, and I will try to show you the essential elements you need to consider.

1. Location

If you travel by plane, airport rent-a-car companies are always at your disposal and quite handy. Since they have a deal with air companies, you can count on a discount offering for airline travelers. You should look into that matter and find out if you are eligible for a lower price.

Keep in mind that the price of the airport car rentals varies according to the airport location, as well. Let’s see what if you need a two-day car rental from Friday at 5 pm to Sunday at 5 pm in Los Angeles.

In this particular case, the lowest price you need to pay for these two days is $47.92. The highest one is $97.23. The difference in price is significant because it depends not just on location but also on other factors.

On the other hand, the same rental companies will offer you a different range of prices when you come to JFK airport in New York. Here, you will need to pay at least $117.18 and up to $573.24 for the same period.

As you can guess, you will find cheaper rentals in the city center, but they can’t be a part of the flight ticket deal. Always keep in mind that you can expect the highest rental price in the biggest cities. Since the location does matter, you can save a substantial amount of dollars by renting a car in less populated and not so famous places.

2, 3. The size and age of the car

The size and age of the car

Rent-a-car companies almost always offer new cars at airports. It is one of the essential reasons why renting vehicles is more expensive there. If you go to the local city car rentals, they will offer you three to five years old models in excellent condition for even twice lower prices.

Another factor to take into consideration is the size of the car. The fact is that more comfort means more money. So, two-days rentals of an economy car at New York airport will cost you $117.18, all taxes included. However, you will need to pay $195.80 for the comfortable SUV.

Keep in mind that these prices are not fixed and can vary from company to company. For example, you can rent the economy car for $47.92 at LA airport, but the price for the SUV can be quite different.

Most companies offer the biggest SUVs for two-days rental at a rental price of $97, but there is one agency renting exclusive cars for $77. Therefore, always check for the best option available.

Of course, the situation is the same in the city. Prices are a bit lower, but there will always be a price difference that will depend on the type of car you want.

4, 5. Discounts and destination

The beauty of competition in every business is that you can get a discount. Be aware that car rental companies almost always offer different discounts depending on the high or low season, holidays, or even days in a week.

My advice is to follow one of many excellent sites on the Net that will alert you of the discount on time. So, you can quickly re-book if anything cheaper comes along. Also, don’t forget to ask for your discounts connected to a flight ticket. In most cases, you can get an excellent offer as complementary to your travel.

Furthermore, many discounts come along with your credit card package and a member card of any buyer’s exclusive clubs or associations.

In the end, you can get one of the highest discounts by prolonging the length of your rental. The longer you rent, the cheaper it will be. Also, the price will be higher if you rent a car that you don’t plan to return to the same location. Leaving the vehicle in another place will cost much more since someone else needs to spend time to drive it back.

As for the destination, the rentals in small towns are usually cheaper. On the other hand, renting in remote places can be highly expensive simply because you don’t have a choice.

6, 7. Insurance and licenses

Insurance and licenses

You should know that insurance is always included in the price of renting a car. If you already have it through a credit card or have already paid for any personal or travel insurance, you should read the rental contract carefully and see what your insurance covers. There is no need to pay twice for the same deal.

Unfortunately, some companies can overrate the price of car rentals with the insurance fee included. It would be best if you looked for those with more reasonable costs.

If you come from a foreign country and want to rent a car, you will need to take the documents necessary for driving in the US, including both a driving license with your picture and an international driver’s permit.

Be prepared to pay more if you are between 18 and 25 years old. In some cases, renting will cost less if you are a woman. It is not discrimination! The fact is that more experienced drivers, especially women, are less prone to car accidents.


So many options and variables shouldn’t discourage you from renting a car. On the contrary, having so many choices can save you a couple of bucks and provide the comfort and security you need. With careful planning, you can budget your travel costs in the most suitable way.