Hybrids In Your Mirror May Be Closer Than You Think

fusionThough gasoline prices have moderated somewhat in recent months from the $4 and upwards that we saw awhile back, the long term trend is still toward ever increasing costs. Given that and the advance of technology, many people are turning to gas/electric hybrids to reduce expenses, not to mention their environmental impact.

Hybrids may seem like the new kid on the block, but it was over a century ago that Ferdinand Porsche produced the first gas/electric car, and the first U.S. patent for a gas/electric hybrid was filed by H. Piper in 1905. Although plug-in hybrids are in the works, the current crop of hybrids use technology called “regenerative braking” to capture energy that would normally be lost when the vehicle is slowing down in order to recharge the batteries. Today’s hybrids are as convenient, as powerful and as reasonably priced as their fully gas-powered brethren.

Those who drive hybrid vehicles do so for many reasons. There is the practical aspect of fuel savings, as well as the more social aspects of being on the front edge of technological advancement and reducing pollution and one’s carbon footprint. If you own a hybrid, chances are you’re proud of it, perhaps even a bit fanatical about it. So what do you do when it’s time to book a rental car?

Fortunately, rental car companies have responded to increased consumer demand for fuel efficiency by offering vehicles with better mileage and lower emissions, including hybrids. Hertz brought several thousand Toyota Prius hybrids into its fleet in 2007. Avis and Budget followed suit with the Prius and the Nissan Altima hybrids, and the nation’s largest rental car company, Enterprise, offers some 5000 hybrids from Toyota and Ford. They also offer the opportunity to pay an extra $1.25 on each rental to help offset carbon emissions, with funds going to Terra Pass.

Although there are typically increased rental fees of around $5 to $15 for renting a hybrid as compared to an equivalent conventional car, there are also savings when it comes time to fuel up before return, and many customers prefer to rent a vehicle that reflects their values and style despite any increased cost. Whether you’re a hybrid owner yourself, cost conscious at the pump, a committed environmentalist or you just want to try out the technology on your next rental, rental car firms are responding with an ever increasing number and variety of hybrids at your service.

Remember that whatever your vehicle needs, you can save when you book your next vehicle online with our Discount Car Rentals from top firms Avis, Budget and Enterprise.

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