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Is There A Market For Hybrid Or Electric Rental Cars

Americans are known for their love of big trucks. It is quite common even among women to drive mammoth trucks, in this part of the world. It is considered a macho American way of driving. But the times have changed. Economic recession has started to affect the spending power of average American families. The increase in gas prices in the recent past has also made people wary of gas guzzling SUVs. Add to this the awareness on global warming and the tide has changed for the SUVs coming out of Detroit. People have started looking for cars with better mileage and lower emissions.

Does all these affect rental cars? Are rental car companies providing green cars like hybrid or electric ones? Are there enough customers who are interested in renting these vehicles out? If there are enough customers, what is the cost of hiring these types of cars, are they too costly or cheap.

Everyone is aware of the fact that hybrid cars are costly to buy, even though the running costs might be cheaper than that of the conventional fuel driven cars. Most rental car companies are increasing the number of hybrid and electric cars in their fleet significantly. And consumers are asking for these cars specifically. This was seen much more prominently during the recent past when the gas prices where sky rocketing. As the gas prizes are coming down now, there may be a change in this attitude. If the economy gets back on track, then the reversal of this will be much more significantly noticeable.

Hertz was the first rental car company to have embraced the green car phenomenon. They joined the bandwagon as far back as 2006 with thousands of cars available from airports all around the country. Sister companies Avis and Budget has also added a significant number of rental cars on to their fleet. Advantage Rent-A-Car is planning to take on the leader spot in green rental cars by going completely green by the end of 2010. Enterprise Rent-A-Car has green cars numbering almost half of their total fleet of a million or so cars.

One of the major disadvantages of green cars is its higher cost. This is one factor, which is going to prevent many customers from renting them. There are some government initiatives to reduce this burden of the shoulders of customers. San Francisco has an offer where they will reimburse $15 whenever they rent a green car from the airport. As the demand for hybrid and electric cars increase further, the prices will come down significantly and this will reduce the burden on average Joe.

The French have a plan to introduce battery powered rental cars available all over Paris, which can be rented from any of the location and dropped off at any other location. The government there is hoping this would reduce the pollution level in Paris significantly. The Mayor of London is also quite impressed at this idea and is planning to make London the cleanest city of the planet by making similar green cars available at multiple locations across London
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Article Added on Tuesday, July 28, 2009
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