When it comes to car rentals, I’ve rarely cared about the make and model of what I’m driving, so long as it’s in my (low) price range, it has a working radio and the driver’s side door operates properly. So it’s a good thing I’ve never tried to rent a hybrid, because the New York Times says I’d be paying anywhere from 30-70% more for the thrill of it all.
A Times Bucks blogger did a semi-scientific study of hybrid rental prices at the San Francisco airport and while the results varied by company, the common thread was that hybrids will make up for what they save in gas money by costing you more at the rental counter.
At Alamo, renting a hybrid cost $123. That was 71% higher than the company charges for a comparable non-hybrid.
Enterprise charged $93 each day for a hybrid, 29% more than a non-hybrid. Hertz, which had a $132/day rate for hybrids was similarly around 29%.
A hybrid at National cost the most, $152, but so did their comparable standard, so it was only a 36% price hike.
A rep for Enterprise blamed the exorbitant upcharge for the airport rental by saying, “limited availability of hybrids at the airport can result in a higher pricing” and that “you will see much less price volatility” at Enterprise locations in the city.
The mouthpiece for Hertz said that the higher rates for hybrids are primarily because hybrid renters want specific makes and models, as opposed to most renters who just want a 2-door hatchback or a mid-size sedan. She also pointed out that prices will be higher in places of high hybrid demand, like California.
Have any of you rented a hybrid before? How much more — if anything — did you pay?
And how much more would you pay to rent a hybrid?