5 Most Expensive Cities to Rent a Car
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The Fiscal Times
May 14, 2014

Luckily for tourists and business travelers, you typically don’t need to rent a car to get around New York City, which has one of the largest public transportation systems in the country and taxi cabs at almost every corner.

But in the event you do, be prepared to pay dearly for the privilege: New York City ranked as the most expensive city in America to rent a car, according to a new survey from Cheap Car Rental.

Related: How to Drive Down the Cost of Rental Cars

On average, travelers who rented a car in the Big Apple over the past year paid $76 per day for the cheapest car available. That’s three times as expensive as in Orlando, the cheapest place to rent a car.

While it makes sense that New York City tops the priciest list, for all the obvious cost-of-living and tourist destination issues, the inclusion of Detroit and Baltimore is somewhat surprising given their less popular status among travelers’ choices for U.S. destinations.

To compile its list, Cheap Car Rental looked at average daily rental rates for 50 popular U.S. destinations, based on results from travel search website Kayak during the past 12 months. For each city, the main airport was chosen as the pick-up and drop-off location.

Related: Google Preps Self-Driving Cars for City Traffic

Here are the priciest cities to rent a car and their average daily rental fare:

1- New York City, $76

2- Detroit, $69

3- Memphis, $67

4- Baltimore, $65

5- New Orleans, $63

Sunny tourist destinations are the cheapest destinations:

1- Orlando, $25

2- Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale (tied), $26

3- Las Vegas, $27

4- San Diego, $28

5- Los Angeles, $29

A myriad of apps can help you find the cheapest car rental options throughout the U.S., including Expedia’s CarRental.com, which released its app a few years ago, and Sixt, Kayak and IzziRentaCar. All the big rental car companies also offer their own apps to facilitate booking.

Related: The Amazing Storm That Swallowed a Street and the Cars on It

To keep costs down, you can also use Getaround, a peer-to-peer car sharing system with no membership fee. Think of it as the Airbnb of car rental.

If you’re going to pay big bucks for your rental car anyway, you might as well make it an upscale, luxurious experience. With Silvercar, you book a car – always  an Audi A4 – through  your smartphone and pick it up and drop it off at a certain location, the same way Zipcar works. The service is currently available in Austin, Dallas, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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Marine Cole has been covering finance and business for a decade and has written for publications that include The Wall Street Journal, Crain's New York Business, and AdvertisingAge.