I just thought I would post a thread giving our experiences in Summer/Autumn 2010 for renting a car.
We will be driving from New York to Los Angeles in just under 5 weeks.
Our first thought were to purchase a car and then sell this upon arrival in Loa Angeles. However, depreciation in value for the mileage and the cross coast devaluing factor, alongside issues such as insurance, registartion and taxes, made this option unacheivable. It seems that this would only be a decent prospect for those looking to travel above and beyond 3 months.
We thus turned to renting.
Three of us in the group were thinking of hiring a minivan. This proves to be very costly and 5 weeks would be well above £2000 ($3120 date08/10). A 7 seater was the next option (with a vue to sleeping in the car if needs be) but teh space in these 7 seaters would look to accomodate 2 at best. We thus turned to an SUV or a Saloon (Sedan). An SUV will typically cost £300 ($460) or so more with the likes of the Nissan Xtrail and Saturn Vue on offer.
For ourselves, we opted for the Pontiac G5. We managed to hire this from carhire300.com which seemed to quote by far the best prices on the net. We paid £900 for 32 days hire (later upgrading to the Seabring for free).
Carhire3000's price includes liability insurance up to £4m fully inclusive with no excess to pay no matter what (stressed on the phone). This also includes a full tank of petrol and 2 additional drivers (over 25) alongside insurance for each driver. the drawback from ordering online is that you can't really haggle. We managed to get £20 more off the internet quote but we didn't have much of a position to barter from.
Travel firms such as Avis, Hertz and Enterprise all appear to offer okay deals for such trips, but looking into additional fees for dropping off at a separate location to pick-up and penalties for excess mileage render these unattractive.
It is noteworthy, when attaining a quote, that there is usually a one-way drop off penalty of $500 with rental firms. However, if you book at airports such as JFK , NEwark, LAX as we have, this reduces to $250. Well worth acoach trip to the airport to save this amount.
We are due to leave on arrive in New York on the 26th and will leave for Los Angeles on the 28th. I will post pictures and a report in other forums to give a glimpse into th trip.
I hope this thread helps, it is a pretty accurate account of what the best prices for renting are currently for UK residents.