Car Rental in California

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500+ Trusted Suppliers:

Cheapest Car Rental Rates

San Diego Cross Border Xpress
Compact
Chevrolet Onix or similar
Chevrolet Onix
  • 5
  • 2
  • 4
  • A/C
  • Auto.
MEX RENT A CAR
$19.95 / per day
Burbank Airport
Economy
Toyota Yaris or similar
Toyota Yaris
  • 4
  • 2
  • 4
  • A/C
  • Auto.
Europcar
$42.86 / per day
Downtown
Intermediate
Mazda 3 or similar
Mazda 3
  • 5
  • 2
  • 2
  • A/C
  • Auto.
Dollar
$43.70 / per day
Los Angeles Arcadia
Standard
Toyota Corolla or similar
Toyota Corolla
  • 5
  • 2
  • 4
  • A/C
  • Auto.
GreenMotion
$43.85 / per day

Most Popular Car Rental Deals

Palm Springs Airport
Full-size
Honda Accord or similar
Honda Accord
  • 5
  • 2
  • 4
  • A/C
  • Auto.
Thrifty
$48.83 / per day
Fresno North
Premium
Volkswagen Passat or similar
Volkswagen Passat
  • 5
  • 2
  • 3
  • A/C
  • Auto.
Budget
$56.52 / per day
Downtown
Full-size Elite
Audi A5 Sportback or similar
Audi A5 Sportback
  • 5
  • 2
  • 5
  • A/C
  • Auto.
Alamo
$57.45 / per day
Los Angeles Airport
Mini Van
Chrysler Pacifica or similar
Chrysler Pacifica
  • 7
  • 2
  • 5
  • A/C
  • Auto.
FOX
$71.14 / per day
The above prices are only approximate and were last updated at 06:34 on 2024-04-21. Prices may vary based on the booking dates, length of rental, and car class.

Travel Information

Languages
English, Spanish
Currency
USD
Drive on
Right-hand side
Country code
+1
Average car rental price
$48 per day
Average car rental length
8 days
Speed limit within town
40 - 48 km/h or 25 - 30 mph
Speed limit out of town
88 - 104 km/h or 55 - 65 mph
Acceptable limit of BAC
0.08%
Rating
9.1 / 10
Average gasoline price
$0.99 per liter or $3.75 / 1 gallon
Lowest gasoline price
$0.79 per liter or $2.99 / 1 gallon
Highest gasoline price
$1.44 per liter or $5.45 / 1 gallon

Why rent a car in California?

California, the most populous state in the US, is a large and diverse state with a plethora of tourist attractions. From Hollywood and Disneyland to San Francisco, there are a wealth of destinations that travelers from all over the world flock to. 

The Pacific Coast beaches are a surfing mecca, the mountains of the Sierra Nevada a climber's paradise, and the vineyards of Nappa and Sonoma Valley a wine lover's dream.

And of course, it is almost essential to have a car to be able to take it all in. Some of the best drives in the US (and perhaps the world) are to be found in the state. Chief among them is driving along the Pacific Highway overlooking the coast. 

USA - California

One-way Car Rentals in California

Here are the most popular one-way rental options for pickup in California and drop off in another country:

  • From California to Nevada - 342 offers from $41.70 per day
  • From California to Arizona - 68 offers from $54.48 per day
  • From California to Colorado - 125 offers from $84.29 per day
  • From California to New York - 120 offers from $82.23 per day
  • From California to Texas - 27 offers from $88.63 per day

Top ways to enter California

  • Los Angeles Airport: The busiest in California, second busiest in the US, and one of the largest in the world, LAX almost feels like a travel destination in its own right.
  • San Diego Airport: Despite only having one runway, San Diego Airport manages to serve more than 20 million passengers annually. 
  • San Francisco Airport: The busiest airport in North California, it serves not only San Francisco, but the larger Bay Area.
  • By land: It is also possible to pick up a car in a neighboring state and then drive to California. Some large airports near California are Las Vegas Airport in Nevada, Phoenix Airport in Arizona, and Portland Airport in Oregon.

Top cities and places to visit

  • Los Angeles. One of the most famous cities on the planet, L.A. is packed with attractions and excitement. There are too many to list them all, but no trip would be complete without visiting Hollywood, Venice Beach, and at least one of the major film studios. Los Angeles is also home to LAX, the busiest airport in California.
  • San Francisco. Most visitors associate San Francisco with the Golden Gate Bridge. While it might be the first thing that you see in the city (if you’re arriving from the north, anyway), it is only the beginning of things to see and do. Other attractions include famous neighborhoods like Fisherman’s Wharf, the Alcatraz prison, and the largest Chinatown in the U.S. 
  • San Diego. Located in the far southwestern part of the state, San Diego is another amazing city. Home to a number of famous beaches like Mission, Ocean, and Black Beaches, the city is also home to one of the best-preserved old towns on the U.S. Pacific Coast, as well as family-oriented attractions like the San Diego Zoo, often named among the best in the country.

Most popular rental car

The most popular rental car in California is the Nissan Versa, closely followed by the Hyundai Accent and the Hyundai Elantra.

Crossing Borders

California borders Mexico, and a trip south of the border is a popular thing for those visiting San Diego. Most rental companies, however, do not allow their vehicles to be driven to Mexico, though. You could, however, rent a separate car on the Mexican side of the border. 

While it's normal to think about including other states as part of a longer road trip, keep in mind that some rental companies only allow their cars to be driven to certain states. Midway, for example, only allows traveling to Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. The usual major rental companies (Alamo, Enterprise, Dollar, and Thrifty, for example) allow their cars to be taken to any state. 

Toll roads

There are a few toll roads in California in addition to express lanes and bridges (primarily in the Bay Area).

In the Los Angeles Area, there are a few toll roads in Orange County. While these roads don't have toll booths, you can preregister your rental car here and the tolls will be charged to your credit card. This means you don't need a FastTrak transponder and don't need to take any toll package offered by the rental company.

Los Angeles has express lanes on I-10 and I-110. They require a FastTrak transponder to use. If your rental car doesn't have one, or you want to not take the company's toll package, simply avoid these lanes.

In the Bay Area, all bridges are tolled. Some of them have tolls in both directions while others just in one direction. There are still toll booths at all of them except the Golden Gate Bridge. For the Golden Gate Bridge, you can register your rental car's license plate online. Keep in mind if you don't do this, the toll will be charged to the rental company which will then charge it to you with an additional administration fee.

While a FastTrack transponder would be convenient in the Bay Area, it is not necessary and you can get by without and save money by avoiding the fees the rental companies charge for use of it.

In other parts of the state, you won't have to worry about toll roads at all.

Most popular types of rental car

The most popular rental car type in California is an economy, followed by intermediate and compact.

Top driving routes

  • Yosemite National Park. California is home to a number of protected areas, but Yosemite might just take the prize as the most scenic one. A national park since 1864 and also a World Heritage site, it is known for the stunning Yosemite Valley. The park can be explored by car, though there is also a hiking trail network of about 800 miles (1,290 km). Yosemite National Park is about a three-hour drive east of San Francisco, three hours southeast of Sacramento, and less than five hours from Los Angeles.
  • Death Valley National Park. Very different from the likes of Yosemite, but equally impressive, the otherworldly Death Valley is a unique place. Made up of a large portion of the Southern California Desert and home to some of the highest temperatures ever recorded on our planet, its haunting landscapes and the surprising diversity of the desert flora and fauna will make for a memorable trip. Death Valley National Park is about 3 hours and 30 minutes from L.A., and less than two hours from Las Vegas in neighboring Nevada. Its southern neighbors, Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park offer similar experiences (if not quite the same desolation), and are closer to both L.A. and San Diego.
  • North Coast. Taking up the state’s Pacific shoreline from San Francisco in the south and the border with Oregon in the north, the North Coast is a wild and beautiful part of California. The region is characterized by rugged beaches and some of the most scenic coastal drives in all of the U.S., but also the stunning Redwood National Park which is home to the tallest trees on the planet.

Car Rental Prices

  • Convertibles - from $64 per day
  • Station wagons - from $57 per day
  • Large cars - from $21 per day
  • Medium cars - from $20 per day
  • Vans - from $54 per day
  • Premium cars - from $48 per day
  • Small cars - from $43 per day
  • SUVs - from $32 per day

How can I save money on my rental car?

You can do a number of things to get a good car rental deal in California:

  • Compare rates of different rental car providers
  • Book your rental car well in advance
  • Plan your route before you go
  • Know your fuel and mileage requirements
  • Visit on the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting California is the cheapest in March when renting a car is about 21% cheaper than the yearly average and about 37% cheaper than renting a car in July.
This information was written, fact-checked, and/or translated by our content creators.

Learn more about our Editorial Policy.

Map of Car Rental Locations

What is the cheapest month to rent a car in California?

The cost of renting a car in California varies by season. This graph compares prices from month to month in order to help you find the best time of year.
Average rental costs per day in California
$37.45
January
$45.19
February
$51.51
March
$49.09
April
$50.69
May
$52.08
June
$59.70
July
$63.41
August
$51.13
September
$53.20
October
$47.21
November
$52.32
December
The cheapest month of the year to rent a car in California is January — when rental costs average $37.45 per day. This is 27% cheaper than the yearly average and 41% cheaper than renting a car in August (when prices average $63.41 per day).

This information can help you identify the low season. But these are only average numbers. How much your car rental will cost will depend on the type of vehicle you rent, how long you’ll rent it for, and how far ahead you book. Simply enter your dates in the form at the top of the page to see the exact prices.

What’s the average rental length in California?

How long renters typically keep their vehicle sometimes varies depending on the time of year. Travelers tend to keep their rental cars longer in July — an average of 9 days. They tend to keep them for a shorter time in November — an average of 6 days.
Average number of rental days in California
8
January
7
February
7
March
7
April
7
May
8
June
9
July
9
August
8
September
7
October
6
November
7
December

What's the most popular month to rent a car in California?

Based on how many customers search for a car in California, the most popular month is April, while the least popular is November.
Monthly searches in California by pick-up date relative to the average
95%
January
78%
February
100%
March
145%
April
74%
May
119%
June
124%
July
125%
August
95%
September
79%
October
68%
November
98%
December

Car Rental Information

Car rental locations 199
Airport locations 31
Popular suppliers FOX, Dollar, MEX RENT A CAR, Alamo, Thrifty
Popular car categories SUVs, Large cars, Medium cars, Vans
Lowest price $20 per day
Cheapest supplier MEX RENT A CAR

Most Popular Car Models of Rental Suppliers

Rental Supplier Model Doors Luggage Type
Dollar Honda CR-V 5 3 SUVs
FOX Kia Sportage 5 2 SUVs
FOX Toyota Corolla 4 1 Large cars
Dollar Honda Civic 4 2 Large cars
Dollar Hyundai Accent 4 2 Medium cars
Alamo Nissan Rogue 5 3 SUVs
MEX RENT A CAR Kia Forte 4 3 Large cars
FOX Chrysler Pacifica 5 2 Vans
MEX RENT A CAR Chevrolet Onix 4 2 Medium cars
FOX Mitsubishi Mirage 4 2 Small cars

Our Customers' Reviews

Because we want to make sure each review listed here is left by a real customer, we don’t have an option to post a review here. Instead, we ask each and every customer to leave a review after they return their rental car. This way, you know that all reviews are authentic, verified, and trustworthy.

United States of America (USA)
Toyota Corolla
March 3, 2024
No comment
United States of America (USA)
Chrysler Pacifica
December 23, 2023
i need my refund back ASAP
Serbia
Nissan Rogue
November 4, 2023
Everything was great
customer photo
United States of America (USA)
Chevrolet Equinox
September 26, 2023
We drove Hwy 1 from LA to Portland… what a beautiful trip
Italy
Chevrolet Suburban
August 27, 2023
National parks are fantastic. American food is not my favorite…
Switzerland
Ford Mustang Convertible
July 20, 2023
Canyons and Vegas for 10 days 2300 miles .. fab !
Hungary
Hyundai Elantra
May 31, 2023
Muir woods & Yosemite National Parks, visiting sport events as LA Angels MLB & LA Sparks basketball, WB studio tour, San Diego Zoo and American food - unbelievably great experiences
Czech Republic
Ford Edge
April 18, 2023
We didnt get the car we expected (ford edge) and there was only one to choose
United States of America (USA)
Nissan Sentra
September 6, 2022
I drove through hot spots and the car made it; drove through windy roads and car was perfect in safety and speed; GAS was wonderful after driving 300miles there and back. - cost efficient.
United States of America (USA)
Nissan Kicks
August 19, 2022
We only drove the car around 200 miles over the 5 day period, but we were able to see some beautiful scenery and enjoy some delicious dinners.
Australia
Nissan Kicks
August 7, 2022
5 national parks were amazing- Joshua tree, Grand canyon, Zions, Sequoia, and Yosemite. Trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles along coast also amazing - Big Sur, beautiful coastal towns.
Israel
Ford Focus 3d
August 6, 2022
Family visit
United States of America (USA)
Nissan Pathfinder
June 30, 2022
To visit LAS VEGAS.
Mexico
Nissan Sentra
April 22, 2022
We stay at Hollywood area Hotel however we spent two days at Disney Parks, it would be better to stay closer to the parks and travel by car to the attractions at Hollywood or LA downtown, because you want to be at the parks very early and leave very late...
United States of America (USA)
Nissan Versa
September 8, 2021
Contact by phone is horrible. Otherwise, everything was good. Tried to rebook and have a hard time finding website and same price.
Switzerland
Toyota Camry
September 2, 2021
Navigation System should not cost extra 150 dollar. That is additional half the care rent price. I did not make use of this offer becsuse i felt betrayed paying so much. The car covered with wax stripes also over the windows.
United States of America (USA)
Nissan Versa
August 21, 2021
It was a bit concerning at first when I landed, not knowing where and why we were going into an industrial off location type of area
Switzerland
Toyota Corolla
August 18, 2021
Folks were helpful and friendly.
Israel
Toyota Camry
July 19, 2021
We just visited our daughter at Los Gatos
United States of America (USA)
Toyota Yaris
July 9, 2021
Love Santa Monica. Hollywood..LA
France
Ford Mustang Convertible
April 29, 2021
I love Los Angeles C u next Time
United States of America (USA)
Fiat 500
March 29, 2021
Anthony at the car rental was helpful and a lifesaver!!!
United States of America (USA)
Kia Sportage
September 23, 2020
Check out Fox Rental before booking another another
United Kingdom
Mazda 3
March 12, 2020
Travelled to LAX rather than Las Vegas from England as airfares were significantly cheaper. Hired car at LAX. Traffic to/from Las Vegas was good on this occasion, but traffic conditions in LA can be really bad and this is worrying if you have a plane to catch.
United States of America (USA)
Toyota Camry
March 11, 2020
Fun but very trafficy
Taiwan
Toyota Rav4
February 10, 2020
I am not sure why I have to use international driver license to rent the car. Other than that, I think you have an efficient system.
United States of America (USA)
Toyota Yaris
December 10, 2019
Honestly, I have a lot of memories to cherish from when I was younger back in the 1990's and in the early 2000's. I do not like how expensive, crowded and dirty the city of San Francisco is. The homeless and drug addicts need to be helped and not ignored.
United States of America (USA)
Hyundai Elantra
October 15, 2019
EST value and nice people
Canada
VW Jetta
March 28, 2019
Rent a car over Uber or Lyfting everywhere. It's much more pleasant and the Highway system in San Diego is amazingly fast literally EVERYWHERE you want to go.
United States of America (USA)
Toyota Camry
September 20, 2018
Love San Diego
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Car Rental Statistics

Highest rated company
Enterprise
9.1 / 10
)
Lowest rated company
RightCars
4.9 / 10
)
Total number of reviews
45
Total rental companies
27
Average daily price
$48.03
Lowest daily price
$19.95
Total cars available
10647

Top 27 Suppliers in California in 2024

Enterprise
Enterprise
Exceptional 9.1 / 68 reviews
95 locations
$86 - $353
Alamo
Alamo
Exceptional 9 / 349 reviews
18 locations
$55 - $226
SIXT
SIXT
Very good 8.6 / 74 reviews
13 locations
$59 - $152
National
National
Very good 8.2 / 26 reviews
24 locations
$67 - $327
Hertz
Hertz
Very good 8 / 23 reviews
43 locations
yesaway
yesaway
Good 7.9 / 80 reviews
2 locations
$125 - $127
Avis
Avis
Good 7.7 / 128 reviews
99 locations
Carwiz
Carwiz
Good 7.7
1 location
Payless
Payless
Good 7.6 / 5 reviews
7 locations
Black&White Car Rental
Black&White Car Rental
Good 7.6 / 2 reviews
2 locations
$95 - $227
Flexways
Flexways
Good 7.5
1 location
$68 - $88
Elita Rent A Car
Elita Rent A Car
Good 7.4 / 66 reviews
2 locations
$80 - $85
Advantage
Advantage
Good 7.4 / 25 reviews
2 locations
Budget
Budget
Good 7.4 / 24 reviews
97 locations
$51 - $148
Thrifty
Thrifty
Good 7 / 135 reviews
13 locations
$46 - $186
NextCar
NextCar
Good 7 / 8 reviews
3 locations
Dollar
Dollar
Satisfactory 6.9 / 270 reviews
18 locations
$44 - $158
MEX RENT A CAR
MEX RENT A CAR
Satisfactory 6.7 / 617 reviews
2 locations
$20 - $237
FOX
FOX
Satisfactory 6.7 / 331 reviews
7 locations
$53 - $145
Europcar
Europcar
Satisfactory 6.4 / 179 reviews
8 locations
$43 - $90
NUCarrentals
NUCarrentals
Satisfactory 6.2 / 44 reviews
4 locations
Priceless
Priceless
Poor 5.9 / 29 reviews
5 locations
Midway
Midway
Poor 5.7 / 22 reviews
8 locations
$54 - $1641
Ace Rent a car
Ace Rent a car
Poor 5.4 / 232 reviews
4 locations
$100 - $169
GreenMotion
GreenMotion
Poor 5.4 / 211 reviews
5 locations
$44 - $142
Economy rent a car
Economy rent a car
Poor 5.1 / 27 reviews
2 locations
$44 - $268
RightCars
RightCars
Poor 4.9 / 261 reviews
1 location
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