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Cost of hiring a car in Europe up 40% since 2019

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The average cost of hiring a car in Europe has rocketed by 40 per cent since 2019 to £500 a week.

Two years ago, a week’s car hire during the peak summer months would have set you back £356 on average, £144 less than today, according to research by

But that’s just for basic car rental. Once extras are added such as child car seats, additional drivers, sat navs and excess waiver insurance, the average cost soars to £944.

The study looked at the cost of hiring a medium compact car such as a VW Golf for a week between 31 July and 7 August 2021, compared to the same week in 2019, in seven countries (Spain, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany and France), with the six rental companies of Sixt, Hertz, Avis, Budget, Enterprise and Europcar.

It also looked at the price of extras payable on arrival.

It found basic car rental rates varied from an average of £388 in Barcelona, Spain, to £655 in Crete, Greece. The biggest increase was in Munich, Germany, where prices are up £290 on average for the week, from £212 in 2019 to £502 in 2021.

Crete is the most expensive place to hire a car costing on average £655, up £195 from 2019, with all car hire companies charging over £600 for the week.

Faro, Portugal, has seen the most reasonable rise but there are wide variations in the hire prices charged by the different companies. For example, Hertz is charging £661 for the week, compared to Enterprise and Sixt which are charging just under £400.

Once all the extras are added, Geneva, Switzerland becomes the most expensive destination to hire this summer, with drivers paying on average £1,091 to hire a compact family car.

Ernesto Suarez, founder and chief executive of, said: “There’s always a lot of variation in car hire prices which are heavily influenced by supply and demand, which is why there can be big differences in the same locations. You may even get a different price with the same rental company depending on how far in advance you book your vehicle.

“Also, not forgetting the disruption caused to the car hire industry by the pandemic, which has put particular pressures on the ability of firms to estimate summer demand.”

He added: “Rental companies have also faced additional costs, such as enhanced cleaning regimes and other measures at collection and drop-off. These operational measures are inevitably going to have an impact on price.”

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