Why Are Rental Cars So Expensive In Boston? 10 REASONS WHY

Rental cars in Boston are expensive because of high demand from tourists, lack of rental competition, high airport fees, insurance costs, seasonal spikes, taxes and surcharges, parking constraints, tolls and gas prices, wear and tear, and low vehicle inventory. The perfect storm of these factors leads to painfully high pricing even as Boston remains a top destination for its rich history, academia, sports, and food scene.

When visitors land at Logan Airport in Boston, many are shocked when they get to the rental car counter. Boston rental car prices often seem unreasonably high compared to other major cities. Why exactly is snagging some wheels in Beantown such a costly endeavor? Let’s take a closer look at the key factors driving up rental costs around here.

Top 10 Reasons Why Are Rental Cars So Expensive In Boston

1. High demand from tourists and business travelers

Over 20 million visitors come to the Greater Boston area every year! With only so many rental cars to go around all these tourists, prices surge to balance high demand. Whether people are coming for a history lesson or to tour local universities and businesses, it means rents get very competitive.

2. Lack of rental car competition compared to other big cities

You’ll find way fewer rental agencies operating in the Boston market versus NYC or LA. Less competition equals higher prices for customers unfortunately. Just a handful of companies like Avis, Hertz, Enterprise, Budget and Thrifty dominate the local market.

3. Airport location charges higher fees

Being so close to downtown, Logan Airport commands extremely high rent and real estate costs. And you bet rental agencies pass these costs onto customers picking up vehicles on airport property. The 13.1% concession recovery fee alone on all Boston rentals is one of the highest.

4. Insurance minimums cost more than average

Even with auto insurance, state minimums for liability and collision coverage are higher than national averages. With so many cars and pricey real estate around here, repairs and medical costs are sky high! Rental agencies factor elevated insurance costs into final pricing.

5. Seasonal demand spikes pricing

Boston sees huge seasonal swings in visitation and events, especially peak fall with students returning and leaf peeping tourism booming. Prices surge when seasonal demand is highest, and dip slightly during slower months like winter. But summer and early fall remain very expensive.

6. High taxes and fees get tacked on

First off, Massachusetts sales tax tacks on an extra 6.25% automatically. Additionally, Logan Airport slaps a $10/day concession fee that sends costs spiralling. Various other municipal taxes and fees ratchet up the final tab too on Boston rentals.

7. Parking is extremely constrained at hotels and attractions

Space for vehicles both overnight and during the day is scarce with Boston’s tight, winding streets. Because parking availability is so limited, rental agencies can command a premium. Guaranteeing parking access across hotel chains and top landmarks has a definite cost.

8. Additional costs related totolls and gas prices locally

The MassPike and tunnels rack up major additional charges during longer rentals. And with Boston gas prices being among the highest nationwide, filling up the tank starts to really hurt. These ancillary costs add up fast.

9. High costs maintaining and replacing vehicles

Given cold winters with lots of salt and sand on roads, and extreme temperature shifts, wear and tear on vehicles is substantial. And vehicles get swapped out more frequently up here. These higher replacement costs for agencies’ local fleets contribute to steeper pricing.

10. Shortage of vehicles currently

In the wake of pandemic production and supply chain disruptions, fewer new vehicles are available regionally. Lower area inventory has enabled agencies to drive up costs to manage demand, while expanded cleaning protocols also tack on fees.


Are rental cars in Boston good?

Yes, major agencies keep modern fleets with a variety of vehicle classes, though high costs mean renting in Boston can represent poor overall value compared to other destinations.

Are rental cars in Boston worth the price?

Not always – extreme local expenses like taxes and tolls plus high base rates stretch value unless factors like limited parking or freight make securing a vehicle essential.

Where to buy rental cars in Boston?

Most visitors rent through major agencies with airport desks like Avis, Hertz, and Enterprise, while some broker sites like Costco Travel offer marginal savings on base pricing before piled-on taxes and fees.

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