If you’ve ever rented a car in Florida, you may have noticed a pervasive Florida Rental Car Surcharge of $2 per day. This state-specific surcharge is in addition to the various taxes and fees you ordinarily see on rentals. For the State of Florida, it amounts to a pretty hefty annual haul of $175 million in revenue, accrued $2 at a time.
Along with the 6 percent state sales tax and this rental car surcharge, don’t forget about Florida’s toll road gotcha.
Still, when it comes to rental car surcharges, Florida doesn’t crack the top 10 most expensive states.
The Florida Rental Car Surcharge is levied at a rate of $2 per day for the first 30 days of a rental. This fee doesn’t apply if you’re using a car-sharing service like Zipcar for less than 24 hours. After 24 hours, though, Zipcar renters are charged at the same $2 per day.To add insult to injury, Florida law requires that rental car companies charge sales tax on the $2 per day Florida fee.
Florida Local and Airport Taxes for Rental Cars
Aside from the state sales and tourism taxes, Florida cities and localities can levy rental car surcharges. In addition, airports can and do levy all sorts of additional charges, which can often increase the total cost of the car rental significantly.
For example, every car rented at Orlando International Airport carries a $2.50 a day tax, bringing the total of rental car surcharges to $4.50 per day plus 6 percent sales tax.
The Toll Road Gotcha for Florida Car Rentals
While it’s technically possible to get around in Florida without paying a dime in tolls, that strategy will significantly increase your travel time. Compounding the problem is that a good chunk of Florida’s toll roads—especially those in South Florida—don’t take cold, hard cash, so you’ll be dealing with all-electronic tolling.
Rental car companies will gladly rent you a toll transponder so that you can pay your tolls without passing go, but it will drive your costs up. A better plan is to bring your own toll pass, such as the Central Florida Expressway Authority’s E-PASS, a portable, reusable plastic transponder that costs $10—far less than you’d pay if you opted for the rental car company’s transponder for a week. Plus you’ll pay the tolls, of course.