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A friend will drive me from FL to NYC along I95. I would like to rent a small (Nissan Note, preferably inexpensive) vehicle for 2 weeks. I would prefer to rent out side the city along I-95 so as I expect the rates to be less and I do not want to inconvenience the friend who is driving onward to Boston.

Is there a clever web search technique to search for rental cars along a segment of I95 starting 15 miles south of the latitude of NYC?

For example, if the economical rental car location is EWK, then the friend would drop me at EWK and I would pickup the rental car and drive over to NYC. I would then meet the friend again two weeks later at the rental station to return the vehicle and motor to Florida.

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  • 1
    "along I95 at the latitude just south of NYC" so in other words, central New Jersey, near the Turnpike? May 18 at 17:44
  • 1
    one way rental or same return ?
    – Hilmar
    May 18 at 18:32
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    Do you mean something like going google and searching for "rental cars near I-95 new jersey"? SMH
    – Peter M
    May 18 at 18:39
  • You can NEVER speculate where the cheapest rental cars will be. When I lived downtown it was often the downtown locations... but sometimes, the airport was significantly cheaper, and worth the tedious journey. You just have to check the prices du jour. May 20 at 18:13
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First, to answer your question: Use Google Maps or other mapping service. Scroll/zoom the map so it covers your desired rental area. Search "rental cars". It will pop up rental locations in that area, which will show where they are, so you can see if there are enough in the area to have a competitive market.

Next, look at the town name that's more or less in the middle of your search area. If you want to use rental car pricing search engines, use that city name as your location, and a search radius to suit you.

Second, I would challenge your underlying assumption. I used to live downtown and rent cars all the time. 2/3 of the time, downtown locations are the cheapest... but... about 1/3 of the time, an airport was significantly less expensive - enough to warrant the shlep out to the airport. So you can make no assumptions about location of cheapest rental. It is very situational, based on which station has what cars when.

...Because, repositioning cars inside a metro area is prohibitively expensive. You have to pay n+1 humans to move n cars.

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I live in New York City. The least expensive place to rent a car in the city is at the airports. So, given your criteria, I would start by looking at Newark airport. Then, if you want to do some comparison shopping, search on your favorite mapping service for "rental car" around whatever your ideal location is. You can also try a price-comparison site like Kayak or Hotwire, giving a likely town or city, to see what they come up with.

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    This has also been my NYC :xperience, pre-pandemic. What makes this question slightly different is that I would now have the option of small non-airport stations. In Florida and most places, there is a discount for not renting at airports. I suspect this is true in NJ
    – gatorback
    May 19 at 14:44
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    No, wrong, airports charge an extra fee that can be over 20%, so they are expensive. Of course, downtown locations have no space, so they charge extra too. Your cheapest source are locations in the suburbs or in smaller cities where acreage is not so expensive.
    – Aganju
    May 19 at 15:59
  • This may be true in NYC, as land prices are so high. In areas of less intense development, however, the bump in rental car prices (because of an airport location) are sometimes more than offset by the factors described in Aganju's comment. A value-conscious renter will search both types of locations to find the best deal. May 19 at 17:09
  • @DavidSupportsMonica I suspect that it has at least as much to do with market forces as with real estate prices. There are lots of people in New York City who don't own cars and rent from time to time to get out of the city for a weekend. That market effectively doesn't exist in the suburbs or even in most other cities in the US.
    – phoog
    May 19 at 18:03
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    It’s quite possible that trends are not the same depending on when you book. I would expect more business customers trying to book at airports during the week, and more leisure customers trying to book inside the city over the week-end (to get away from the city). Checking and comparing on the actual dates is probably the only way to know for sure.
    – jcaron
    May 21 at 12:15
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Right now rental cars in the US are super expensive. A cheaper option might be to rent a U-haul pickup truck.

Using google maps, and search would be the best way to find a U-haul dealer or a rental car location.

As cars move around rental prices change. I would as others have said shop around.

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