Rental Car Companies Increase Inventory as More People Rent a Hybrid Car

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With higher gas prices and the benefits to the environment, more companies have started to rent a hybrid car. Enterprise, Hertz, and other top vendors are stocking up to meet the demand, according to Hybrid-Rental-Car.com, a web site with information to help people rent a hybrid car.

You'll usually (though not always) pay a higher day rate to rent a a hybrid when compared to a similar non-hybrid. The cost can range up to about $24 per day. Other factors that influence cost depend on the car rental company, where they're located, and how long you need the car. In the end though, it's based on who has hybrid cars available.

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According to Hybrid Rental Car, there's a lot more people asking to rent a hybrid car. Major rental car companies are responding. Many are increasing their inventory of hybrid rental cars and touting the car's environmentally friendly features.

With gas still over four dollars a gallon, renting a hybrid over an SUVs or other gas guzzler can save customers hundreds of dollars on the cost of a trip. Choosing to rent a Prius or other hybrid car is not budget-friendly, but only eco-friendly and that has also come into vogue.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Hertz have launched programs that focus on the lower environmental impact of a hybrid. In January 2008, Enterprise Rent-A-Car launched a progressive new program that gives customers the opportunity to offset the carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions from their hybrid car rentals.

People who rent hybrids from Enterprise, Alamo and National rental car companies now have the option of paying $1.25 per rental to offset the cost of their carbon emissions. The extra amount corresponds with the cost of the CO2 produced during the average car rental. The funds collected are then passed on to TerraPass, a company that uses funds collected from carbon offsets to subsidize projects that remove and reduce carbon from the atmosphere.

The carbon offset program is part of a much larger environmental initiative that ranges from funding renewable-fuel research to helping plant 50 million trees over the next 50 years. In total, the company's efforts on behalf of the environment are in the neighborhood of $100 million.

The big draw for renting a Prius or other hybrid cars is the their impressive environmental profile and fuel economy. According to Toyota's statistics, the Prius emits 70 percent fewer smog-producing emissions than the average new car. It's also a genuine gas-conserver, earning a combined city/highway EPA rating of 46 miles per gallon. And with gas costing more than $4 a gallon, the savings can be significant.

Enterprise Has the Most Hybrid Car Rentals
Car rental companies are are also increasing their inventories. Enterprise has the nation's largest fleet of hybrid cars, with approximately 5,000 vehicles. They have four hybrid models available nationwide. Hertz is planning to add another 2,400 hybrid cars this year. They are also offering hybrid car rentals at the company's top 50 airport locations. Hybrid rental cars can be reserved as part of Enterprise's Green Collection, which even lets customers book a specific make and model.

Hertz Offers Hybrid Car Rentals
Combined with the Hertz's new arrivals, their hybrid fleet will total an eco-impressive 3,400 vehicles. Avis offers 2,500 hybrids in three classes, available primarily at major airports in California and cities including Portland, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Washington, and Boston.

Regional Companies Offer Hybrids for Rent
Smaller rental car companies are also getting in on the hybrid trend. Fox Rent A Car, a Los Angeles-based discount operation, offers hybrids in Phoenix and seven locations in California. All the new hybrids will help push the nation's rental pool for the gas-sipping, emissions-cutting gas/electric vehicles to more than 10,000.

Cost of Renting a Hybrid
Lee Gientke of Hybrid-Rental-Car.com, notes that renting a hybrid may cost a little more than other car rentals. "You'll usually (though not always) pay a higher day rate to rent a a hybrid when compared to a similar non-hybrid. The cost can range up to about $24 per day. Other factors that influence cost depend on the car rental company, where they're located, and how long you need the car. In the end though, it's based on who has hybrid cars available."

Look at Car Rental Policies
Customers who are looking for a hybrid rental car should check policies, which vary by company. At Avis, Fox and Hertz, customers can request a hybrid when they place their reservations online or by phone. At Enterprise, customers can only reserve a class or size of car. To get a hybrid, the company suggests that customers state their preference when reserving a car and then following up by phone with the destination branch to explore the options.

About Hybrid Rental Car
Hybrid Rental Car is an online resource about hybrid rental cars. To get tips on how to rent a Prius or other types of hybrid rentals, go to http://www.hybrid-rental-car.com.

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Lee Gientke
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