Car rental prices up 55%, tips to save money

If you are renting a car this Fourth of July holiday weekend, or for a summer trip, prices are soaring. And some rental agencies are charging hundreds in deposits.

Rental car prices reached an all-time high in July 2021 during the rental car shortage. But that shortage isn't over, and travel site Kayak says rental car prices are up 55%.

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"Rental car availability has eased up a little in the areas that we were seeing big problems last year, like Hawaii and Florida," said Jonathan Weinberg, CEO of

"But the problem has moved to a certain degree to other areas, namely around the National Parks, like Bozeman, Montana, and Glacier National Park," he said.


Plus many rental agencies will ask for a deposit or put a hold on your credit card, to cover any potential damage or incidentals.

"Typically the rental car companies will charge anywhere from $150 to $500 a day for a deposit. Debit card renters can expect to pay on the higher side," explained Weinberg.

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To save on car rentals, experts say book early, using price comparison sites such as AutoSlash,, Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz, or Travelocity.  

Nerdwallet recommends renting from agency locations 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 give big discounts to Costco members, AAA members, AARP," said Weinberg.

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 any time a better deal comes along," said Weinberg.

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Most auto insurance policies cover the driver for rental cars, as do many credit cards, so you don't have to buy the rental agency's insurance.

And don't pre-pay for gasoline if the price per gallon is more than you'd pay at a local gas station.

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