Car rental prices up 55%, tips to save money

If you’re renting a car this 4th of July holiday weekend, or for a summer trip, prices are through the roof. And some rental agencies charge hundreds in deposits.

Rental car prices hit an all-time high in July 2021 during the rental car shortage. But that shortage isn’t over, with travel site Kayak saying car rental prices are up 55%.

RELATED: Rental Car Shortage Drives Prices Up, Makes Cars Scarce

“Rental car availability has dropped a bit in areas where we saw big problems last year, like Hawaii and Florida,” said Jonathan Weinberg, CEO of AutoSlash.com.

“But the problem has moved to some extent to other areas, namely around National Parks, like Bozeman, Montana and Glacier National Park,” he said.

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Also, many rental agencies will require a deposit or hold your credit card to cover any damage or incidentals.

“Car rental companies typically charge $150 to $500 a day for a deposit. Debit card renters can expect to pay more,” Weinberg explained.

RELATED: More People Make Money Renting Their Cars

To save on car rentals, experts recommend booking early, using price comparison sites like automatic Bar, carrental.com, Expedia, Kayak, orbitzeither Travelocity.

nerdwallet recommends renting from agencies in the city, which are up to 26% cheaper than renting at the airport.

“Take advantage of all the discounts and coupon codes that are available to you. Rental companies offer great discounts to Costco members, AAA members, AARP,” Weinberg said.

You can monitor your reservation for a price drop or let AutoSlash do it for you.

“We let you know when prices drop, so you can cancel and rebook anytime a better deal comes along,” Weinberg said.

RELATED: Rental Scams on the Rise in Houston as Rental Rates Rise

Most auto insurance policies cover the driver of rental cars, as do many credit cards, so you don’t have to purchase insurance from the rental agency.

And don’t prepay for gas if the price per gallon is more than what you’d pay at a local gas station.

You can also compare prices with rideshare companies, such as Leverage, HyreCar, Lyft, Uber, Turo, Y Zipcar.

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