Hunting for Greener Pastures
At rental-car counters, expect few hybrid options at much higher prices
Whether you're talking Avis, Budget, Enterprise or a smaller chain, chances are if you're requesting a hybrid -- or even a flex-fuel vehicle -- at the counter, you're out of luck. According to an expert quoted in the article, fewer than 5 percent of the 1.3 million vehicles available for rent each day are hybrid vehicles. These tend to be in urban areas -- especially urban areas out West, like San Francisco, where hybrids are considered more mainstream and demand tends to be higher.
No matter where you're renting, though, expect a price hike. Hybrids are priced like specialty vehicles, in the same way in which renting a Corvette is more expensive than renting a Hyundai Accent. How much more expensive? According to a quick study put together by the paper (in which it priced out the two-day rental costs of several different models in Portland, Ore.), significantly more. While a Ford Mustang convertible ran $232.98, a Nissan Altima hybrid cost $285.80. Of course, as you're expected to refill the gas tank before returning the vehicle, the hybrid did return some of that cost uptick in terms of fuel savings, based on the 200 miles of hypothetical driving used for the study -- but only about $10 worth, meaning overall the hybrid still cost a little over $40 more when all was said and done.
There are several obvious reasons for hybrids being more expensive, of course, including the fact that they're more expensive for the company to obtain in the first place. And while hybrids and other green tech has dominated the news recently, it should be remembered that they're a far way off from dominating the highways; the makeup of rental fleets across the country is a reminder of that.
You can check out the entire article, plus the rental cost match-ups, here.
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