Hybrid cars are hotter than ever right now. More of the driving public is turning away from SUVs that are hard on the environment, especially as gas prices continue to surge and it becomes more and more expensive to commute. Car rental agencies have got in on the game as well, by adding green cars to their fleets â€“ a combination of hybrids, electrics, and in some cases, even bio-diesel cars.
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The transportation sector contributes the most to carbon emissions, which are linked to global warming and respiratory problems, and the publicâ€™s quickly becoming aware that hybrid cars represent a viable option instead of regular gas-guzzling cars.
If youâ€™re one of those environmentally-conscious consumers, and chances are good that you are, I recommend opting for a green car during your next vacation. Renting, as opposed to test-driving, a hybrid car will allow you to learn more about the day-to-day operations of a hybrid car, and aspects that require more time to consider, such as re-fueling, the way it handles, city and pleasure driving, that you might not get during a test drive. And any extra rental fees above that of renting a regular car should be off-set by the realization that you wonâ€™t be paying $4 per gallon at the pump!
The big 3 rental companies all currently offer hybrids, but theyâ€™re not available at all locations. Below Iâ€™ve compiled some information about their hybrid fleets, accessibility, and extended pricing.
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Hertz has a fleet of over 1000 hybrid cars, and are set to add 3500 Toyota Priuses to that number as this year progresses. Hybrid rentals are available at all of the major airports in the US, as well as a couple of other select locations, but you can only reserve the Toyota Priuses right now, and hybrid cars are subject to an additional charge of $5 per day. Depending on how much you use it, though, this can be off-set by the lower gas prices youâ€™ll be paying.
Avis has 3000 hybrids available in their rental fleet, with over 1000 Toyota Priuses and 500 of Nissanâ€™s hybrid offering, the Altima. Most of the rentals are in California and the west coast, but theyâ€™re expanding to include major cities on the east coast and in Chicago and Dallas. You can guarantee reservations on both of the hybrids in their fleet.
Enterprise has the largest fleet of hybrid cars available for rent, at 4,000 hybrids with another 1,500 on the way. Most of these are Toyota Priuses, but Enterpriseâ€™s smaller and more regionally-based rental agencies, Alamo and National, have Toyota Camry hybrids available for rental. Unfortunately, you canâ€™t guarantee a hybrid reservation, as they only reserve by class, but most locations will do what they can to assist you, so make sure to plan ahead! Thereâ€™s an additional charge of $5-$10 per day for hybrid car rentals in some locations, as well.
If youâ€™re wondering why more rental agencies arenâ€™t adding hybrid cars to their fleets, itâ€™s not because thereâ€™s no need or theyâ€™re not appealing to the car rental agenciesâ€¦ Many hybrid car manufacturers are reducing their fleet sales to car rental agencies in an effort to keep the re-sale value of hybrids high, which will entice regular consumers to buy them, but as time wears on and competition in this market becomes tighter, you should see increased hybrid availability, as well as price drops.