Most and Least Expensive Cities to Rent a Car, SUV in This December

Christmas Wilshire Boulevard Los Angeles Reindeer Santa
Traffic flows along Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills beneath suspended lifesize figures of Santa Claus delivering toys from in his sleigh being pulled by reindeer on December 21, 2011 in California. FREDERIC J. BROWN/Staff/Getty Images

Holiday travel can be pricey. Not only is there the cost of presents, food and airfare, but also the price of rending a car.

A new study by FinanceBuzz notes that throughout 2021, travelers have encountered issues renting cars, including lack of inventory leading to increased prices, yet another side effect of the pandemic. These issues are likely to be exacerbated as travel picks up, especially this holiday season.

The financial independence company used data provided by Kayak, a travel agency, to determine the 100 most popular cities to travel during the holiday season.

They then collected data on the total and daily costs of renting a car for each city, spanning from Dec. 23, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022, considering a variety of vehicle sizes to assist travelers looking to avoid sticker shock.

The data determined that the average daily cost of renting a vehicle in that 10-day period is $867.96 in total or about $86.80 daily.

On the high end, renting a vehicle in a warmer location will cost visitors nearly twice the national average to rent a car or SUV. Kona, Hawaii tops the list with a $194.82 daily bill that totals $1,948.18 for the ten day period. Lihue, Kahului and Honolulu, Hawaii are also in the top five most expensive cars making it the most expensive state to visit.

15 Most Expensive Cities to Rent a Car in This Christmas

  1. Kona, Hawaii — $194.82
  2. Lihue, Hawaii — $158.38
  3. Kahului, Hawaii — $156.55
  4. Fort Myers, Florida — $146.65
  5. Honolulu, Hawaii — $142.00
  6. Denver, Colorado — $114.67
  7. Salt Lake City, Utah — $114.15
  8. Chicago, Illinois — $108.95
  9. Minneapolis, Minnesota — $107.02
  10. Baltimore, Maryland — $105.90
  11. Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina — $105.73
  12. Charleston, South Carolina — $105.45
  13. Fort Lauderdale, Florida — $104.76
  14. Detroit, Michigan — $103.82
  15. West Palm Beach, Florida — $102.97

When it comes to renting an SUV, Finance Buzz found that the average daily cost in the 10-day period is $149.85 which totals to $1,498.53. Hawaii topped this list too, with three cities in the top five — Kahului, Kona and Honolulu. Kahului, the most expensive city overall, is the only city whose rate is twice the national average.

15 Most Expensive Cities to Rent an SUV in This Christmas

  1. Kahului, Hawaii – $300.09
  2. Kona, Hawaii – $270.91
  3. Honolulu, Hawaii – $265.00
  4. Fort Myers, Florida – $216.49
  5. Salt Lake City, Utah – $204.01
  6. Denver, Colorado – $203.07
  7. New Orleans, Louisiana – $188.45
  8. Pensacola, Florida – $185.00
  9. Charleston, South Carolina – $180.18
  10. West Palm Beach, Florida – $178.88
  11. Lihue, Hawaii – $176.90
  12. Columbia, South Carolina – $176.09
  13. Knoxville, Tennessee – $176.05
  14. Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina – $175.45
  15. Newark, New Jersey – $173.00

While the cities with the most affordable rental car costs at Christmas are spread across the country, four of the top 15 least expensive cars are located in the middle of the country — Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio, and Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky.

Anchorage, Alaska is the least expensive city in the country to rent a car over both the holidays with a $48.45 daily cost that totals to $484.55, nearly half the average.

15 Least Expensive Cities to Rent a Car in This Christmas

  1. Anchorage, Alaska – $48.45
  2. Cincinnati, Ohio – $51.13
  3. Spokane, Washington – $54.46
  4. Tulsa, Oklahoma – $55.62
  5. Louisville, Kentucky – $58.20
  6. Dallas, Texas – $58.84
  7. Norfolk, Virginia – $60.27
  8. Fort Worth, Texas – $65.13
  9. Oakland, California – $67.69
  10. Seattle, Washington – $68.15
  11. Jackson/Vicksburg, Mississippi – $68.90
  12. Dayton, Ohio – $69.00
  13. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – $69.18
  14. Wichita, Kansas – $69.94
  15. Lexington, Kentucky – $70.88

Even on the low end, the daily cost of renting an SUV is over $100 except in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the analysis. It is also the second-most affordable city for car rentals overall.

Los Angeles and Burbank, California are the only warm weather cities on the to make the least expensive SUVs list with $118.93 and $121.45 daily costs respectively.

15 Least Expensive Cities to Rent an SUV in This Christmas

  1. Cincinnati, Ohio – $97.05
  2. Dallas, Texas – $104.96
  3. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – $105.55
  4. Syracuse, New York – $109.50
  5. Rochester, New York – $110.00
  6. Louisville, Kentucky – $114.66
  7. Anchorage, Alaska – $114.82
  8. Fort Worth, Texas – $115.11
  9. Oakland, California – $116.32
  10. Memphis, Tennessee – $116.40
  11. Seattle, Washington – $118.37
  12. Norfolk, Virginia – $118.45
  13. Los Angeles, California – $118.93
  14. Dayton, Ohio – $120.73
  15. Burbank, California – $121.45

All the data collected by Finance Buzz was between Oct. 27-Nov. 3, 2021. Numbers are subject to change.