Hitting the road in a hybrid

Photo: istockphoto.com/ian francis

We know you try to be a responsible environmental citizen when at home. But when you rent a car for a business trip or vacation, you're forced to take whatever gas-guzzling, emission-spouting wheels they give you. Or are you?

Thanks to some forward-thinking companies, you now have the option to rent hybrids. Though it takes massive initial investment for these companies to offer environmentally friendly rides, it pays back in spades by providing a unique competitive advantage and a very favourable corporate profile. And those that are smart enough to pave the way to easier green driving FIRST will also garner plenty of press and free publicity in return. Like this article. And that's just good business. So, for eco-conscious clients, the car rental company and the environment--it's a win-win-win situation!

Vehicle of choice
So far, the vehicle of choice for the eco-leaders in this arena is the Toyota Prius, winner of the 2007 Energuide Award. Its Hybrid Synergy Driveâ„¢ gets a whopping 96 kilometers (60 miles) to the gallon. But many companies like Chevrolet and Honda are also heading in the right direction to provide hybrids to a green-hungry market. Car rental companies are starting to follow suit and many now have hybrid cars for rent. Follow our route to find one!

The large fleets

  • Enterprise: Serving the U.S., Canada and Europe, this company is hands down the eco-pioneer in this market with 3,000 hybrids now available for rental in selected U.S. markets, with big plans for more in the future. And for every hybrid rented they will donate $1.00 to their 50 Million Tree Pledge.
  • Hertz: Operating globally, they are also paving the way to fewer emissions with a $68-million investment to add 3,400 hybrids at 50 airport locations across the U.S. by 2008. They already have some available in selected U.S. markets now which are part of their "Green Collection". For every "green rental" Hertz will contribute $1.00 to the National Park Foundation.
  • Avis: Operating globally, Avis now has 1,000 hybrid vehicles available for rent in selected U.S. locations and expects to add 2,000 more to its U.S. and European fleet by the middle of next year.
  • Hybrids for the highlife
    If you're looking to go eco-friendly in luxury style, check out these innovative companies offering you "glam" hybrids:

  • Bauer's Worldwide Transportation: Based in San Francisco, Bauer's offers ICars, a leader in green limousine services with 85 percent of all their fleet miles traveled with alternate fuel or hybrid vehicles.
  • Ozocar is New York's first "eco-luxury" private car service offering a Toyota Prius equipped with Sirius Satellite Radio, Wi-Fi and an iBook computer for Internet access while you ride.
  • Smaller but still green
    Some of the smaller, regional companies are starting to offer hybrid rentals as well.

  • Fox: Operating throughout the U.S. with international affiliates, Fox is now offering hybrids in selected markets with a five percent discount special.
  • EV Rental: Offers hybrids on the U.S. West Coast.
  • Discount Car and Truck Rental: Has a fleet in Ontario.
  • Via Route: Has a limited but still decent selection in Quebec.
  • Europcar: operates throughout Australia.
  • Happy eco-trails!