Contributing Monkie Sarah Backhouse
Published on April 25, 2008
It takes a lot for me to mention my spouse in an article, but this one calls for it. DH (wow, I finally get to use that weird abbreiviation) is somewhere along route 80, last seen leaving Little Rock. He flew to Miami a week ago and is driving back to Los Angeles. For work, you see. No, he’s not a drug courier. He’s a screenwriter and is doing some research for an upcoming project. As a socially conscience guy, he dreamt of crossing this magnificent country, not in a cliched Mustang convertible, but in a Toyota Prius. However, he was shocked to discover that his American dream was actually mission impossible. None of the major car rental companies in Miami had Priuses, or any hybrids for that matter.
Which is why we personally applaud Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s recent announcement that they’ll be greening their fleet.
Enterprise, the nation’s biggest car rental company, announced last week that they’ll be opening four new “green branches” in Atlanta, where 60% of their cars will be hybrids or fuel efficient vehicles. Analysts say that the majority of hybrid renters will be of the socially conscious persuasion or those looking for an extended test drive. “Those who are looking for a value in terms of dollar for dollar will absolutely not get hybrids,” said Brian Chee, the head automotive analyst at MyRide.com. With hybrid premiums of $5 – $15 per day, auto experts reckon that this will outweigh fuel savings in short term rentals.
Hybrids are still vastly outnumbered by 1.8 million rental gas guzzlers: Enterprise has 4,000; Hertz has 3,500; and Avis has 2,500. As to whether the rent-a-hybrid concept will take off, it appears that it’s down to consumers to drive up demand. I, for one, am optimistic. All I’ve heard are complaints that there aren’t enough hybrids for rent.
As for DH, if he were able to rent a hybrid, he could have slashed his fuel costs by 75%, thereby leaving more money for roadside diner pancakes with fake maple syrup.
(via the San Francisco Chronicle)