Fuel prices have been on the rise over the past decade. In the UK, drivers can expect to pay 60p more than ten years ago, while US drivers have seen a price surge of 47 cents in the past year alone. Although prices have been known to ebb and flow, this general upward trend seems as if it’s here to stay. The high cost of fuel can take a bite out of any holiday budget. Even a slight uptick in gas prices can add several hundred dollars to a round trip journey of 500 miles. As a result, the green alternative of hybrid or electric vehicles starts to look more appealing to consumers. A few years ago, green rentals were difficult to find. Yet today, they’re offered by all the major car rental businesses at lower costs than you might expect.
Hybrid Rental Vehicles
With a higher demand for budget conscious and environmentally friendly cars, more and more major car rental companies have added hybrids to their fleets. These can be rented for a long distance road trip or simply for short term use at a holiday destination. Enterprise currently holds over 1 million fuel efficient vehicles in its global fleet, and Hertz now offers five different hybrids to choose from. Although the Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius are consistently top-selling options, you can expect to see a wider range offered in the future as more popular sedans like the Nissan GTR and Volkswagen Jetta are available in hybrid versions. By choosing to rent hybrid vehicles, consumers not only get to save at the pump but also can feel good about reducing their carbon footprint on holiday.
Balancing the Rental Budget
The popularity of hybrid rentals seems to be directly influenced by current fuel prices. When the prices fall, rental demand goes down. Consumers can be turned off by the higher rental prices and limited ranges electric vehicles offer, particularly for long-distance journeys. Until charging stations become more ubiquitous, it’s unlikely that electric vehicles will dominate the market. However, hybrids do have gas-powered motors as well as electric batteries to help drivers get over the fear of running out of power. Indeed, many motorists choose rentals as an opportunity to test-drive a hybrid and see if this could be a viable option to buy in the future. In terms of pricing, the cost-effectiveness of renting a hybrid vehicle will depend on the location and dealership. It’s best for consumers to shop around to find the best rental prices in their holiday destination.
Availability of Green Cars
The major car rental companies are paying close attention to consumer demand, and most have stocked their fleets with a wider selection of green cars as a result. Enterprise lists cities on their website where their electric vehicles are available, while Avis now holds over 4,100 hybrids in its fleet. Extra incentives are often given to green vehicle drivers in order to boost interest. For example, some hotels will offer free parking or charging stations for guests driving electric vehicles.
Whether consumers are interested in getting to know the advantages and disadvantages of hybrid vehicles, wish to reduce their carbon footprint, or simply want to save money on fuel, renting a green car can potentially tick all the boxes. And as charging stations become more widespread, consumers will feel increasingly comfortable with an electric vehicle for long distances.