How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Car For a Week?
The most asked question since we put up this site and gave exact figures for what it costs to rent a car for a day is “what does it cost to rent a car for a week?” so now we have your answer. Of course, the answer is a little tricky. In order to see how much does it cost to rent a car for a week, we surveyed car rental costs at 97 locations in the United States for a typical (non-holiday) week. These locations are airport locations. The costs surveyed are for the least expensive rental vehicle – so in most, but not all cases that means the “economy” class. If you want something bigger or with more features, you’ll need to add a few dollars mentally. Hopefully it goes without saying, but these survey costs don’t include gas, or extras like the insurance the rental agencies typically try to sell you. However, they do include all the taxes, fees and the like which get tacked on to the base cost of the rental which you can’t opt out of – so these are “real” total costs. We didn’t include the variances in add-on taxes and fees as a separate statistic, but did notice that they have wide variance depending on location. Clearly some taxing districts have decided to shaft out-of-towners on their rental car costs, with both high percentage and fixed taxes being observed. Other areas, though, the taxes and fees are still modest. A good example of the high cost of taxes is the first city in the survey, Little Rock, AR. The base cost to rent a car for a week (economy) is $196.00; however, the total cost with the taxes is $337.97. That’s $141.97 in taxes and fees! That’s more than 72% extra above the base cost in taxes and fees! Unfortunately, Little Rock is closer to the norm than not.
When comparing to the cost to rent a car for a day, renting a car for a week is usually discounted – in some cases tremendously. If you intend to rent a car for 4,5 or 6 days, the weekly rate may be cheaper, even eating the extra days, than the daily rate. Normally the rental companies computers will automatically give you whichever is cheaper, but it may not hurt to double check.
Bottom Line: If you really hate reading the details, and just have to know right now how much does it cost to rent a car for a week, the average cost to rent a car for a day in the 97 areas we surveyed was $306.96. However, those numbers need to be understood in some amount of context to be more meaningful, so please keep reading.
Keep in mind this was a snapshot of the market; we picked a random non-holiday week and ran the numbers. However, like any market, things change – price wars can end or begin for example, or there may be seasonal variables. However, with that in mind, this is about as good a specific answer as to how much does it cost to rent a car for a week as can be found. As time goes along we can take more snapshots of the market and see what changes occur over time.
Range – The amazing range of price differences points out that the primary factor in the cost to rent a car for a week is location and the local market conditions (including especially local taxes). Clearly some markets are in full-on price wars and some are able to charge extremely high prices for practically the same vehicles. The cost to rent a car for a week ranged from a low of $113.43 in Tampa (including the taxes!) to a high of $644.91 in Providence, RI.
Median – Sometimes some crazy high and low outliers can throw off the average when looking at numbers, so it’s also good to compare the median to the average. The median is the number at which half the numbers in our data are below, and half are above. For weekly rentals the median single day cost was $293.83. As the weekly average to rent a car for a week was $306.96, that’s not too far off from the median. In this survey we saw something of a bell curve (though less pronounced on a cost to rent for a day survey); that while there are some very expensive areas, and some intense price-war areas, the majority of locations didn’t stray too far from the average, which means the average cost of $306.96 has some validity and value to it. Unless you are in one of the exceptionally high or low areas, that average numbers is a good rough guide for what it costs to rent a car for a day.
So there you have it: how much does it cost to rent a car for a week? $306.96 is the weekly average for 97 airport locations surveyed in the United States.
Trends – Enterprise Rent-a-Car was the most prolific low-cost agency, showing as such in 29 of the cities, but their competition is much closer than in the daily survey (Advantage was lowest in 21 locations). As in the daily survey, if there was a price war, the presence of super-discounters like Advantage Car Rentals, E-Z Rent-A-Car, etc. tended to have the lowest, but they also tended to be the lowest, if they were present, even in areas where there wasn’t a price war. The car rental agencies all watch each other closely, though, and even though one may have had the lowest price, the competitors were often within a few dollars.
How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Car for a Month – we get asked that too; however, at least in the U.S. the major rental agencies don’t usually have a posted monthly rate. It will just be figured as weeks. It doesn’t hurt to ask; some managers may have authority to discount a little more on a longer rental. However, to create an accurate comparison chart like we’ve done for weekly and daily isn’t feasible yet for monthly cost to rent a car. For a monthly rental, you may want to also look at used car rental agencies, and rent to own cars dealers (a relatively new trend).
More Notes for Numbers Nerds -
This survey is not of every commercial airport in the U.S. Obviously some don’t have rental car companies at the airport, for one thing. More importantly, though, we wanted this survey to include a cross-section of geographically and size diverse airports. It is not the 97 largest airports, though most (but not all) large airports are included. It includes some small airports to be thorough and representative. At a handful of small airports the rental agencies aren’t open on the weekends so we went Monday-to-Monday. Also at a small handful of airports the prices quotes were for limited mileage contracts (in case you thought those were extinct entirely!). In those cases, because the mileage limits were relatively high (several hundred miles at a minimum) we ignored that for this survey. Most of these are in the Northern plains and West (where the next wide spot in the road might be a long way off). Just be aware that if you rent a car in Helena, MT and want to drive it to San Francisco, you’ll likely hit the mileage limit. One location, Marquette, MI, had manual transmissions as the lowest costs from all the agencies. Because it was a single outlier in this regard, we took the lowest automatic transmission cost for this survey; but if you like driving a stick, you can save a little in Marquette. At a few airports some rental car companies have cars at the terminal, while others have shuttles to off-site lots. Typically the cost is lower by a few dollars for the off-site lot companies. However, we did not take on-site vs off-site into account in this survey, only what was lowest at that airport overall.