Car Rental Rate Holiday Rip-Offs

Travelers in need of a rental car in Seattle this Christmas will pay a lot more than usual. According to a new survey from, rental car rates have nearly quadrupled in the city for the holidays.

The survey examines car rental rates in 40 popular U.S. destinations over the time period spanning Dec. 23–27, 2018. For each city, the rate for the cheapest available rental car was established, with a pick-up and drop-off at the city’s primary airport.

At a rate of $118 per day for the most affordable car, rental car rates in Seattle are more than 300% more expensive than normal, non-holiday rates. Only one U.S. destination is more expensive. Renters in New York City will spend an average of $179 per day during Christmas. Following Seattle, New Orleans comes in third with a rate of $109 per day.

Louisville, Orlando and San Antonio are among the least expensive destinations, where travelers can rent a car for around $40 per day.

The rates shown below are the average daily rate for the cheapest available car during the period spanning Dec. 23–27, 2018. Each city’s main airport was chosen as the pick-up and drop-off location.

  • New York City $179 (+223%)
  • Seattle $118 (+315%)
  • New Orleans $109 (+84%)
  • Denver $104 (+187%)
  • Honolulu $99 (+157%)
  • Boston $95 (+215%)
  • Pittsburgh $94 (+114%)
  • Minneapolis $87 (+84%)
  • Portland $86 (+118%)
  • Tampa $86 (+186%)
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