With the huge environmental impact of petrol and diesel cars reaching the consciousness of consumers, it’s no wonder that electric car ownership is gaining popularity across the US and Europe.
With car companies from Tesla to Toyota developing electric and hybrid cars, there's a wealth of options to choose from.
But what about holiday car rentals? Whether you're embarking on a short city break or a classic road trip, private transportation will always take a particularly hefty toll on the environment.
Yet sometimes air travel is the only feasible way to get from A to B. So if you're taking a flight to the US for example, you may be wondering about your personal carbon footprint and how you can offset or minimise your environmental impact. Hiring a hybrid or electrical car would certainly help. In this article, we look at the pros and cons of hiring an electric car for your road trip.
Reducing the environmental impact of a road trip
Did you know 1-in-6 Brits have taken a road trip in the last year? It's a great way to explore a new place, but the cumulative gallons of petrol and diesel used by British road trippers has a devastating impact on the environment. On a partial trip down California’s scenic Route 1 (approximately 655 miles, or over 1,000 kilometres), that’s approximately 80 litres of fuel in a Mustang!
Opting for a hybrid of electric car over a petrol or diesel vehicle is one way to reduce your negative environmental impact and with car rental companies rolling out fleets across the US and Europe, now’s a great time to consider it.
Pros of hiring an electric car
- Environmental impact - even when charged using power from coal-fired power stations electric vehicles produce 40% less CO2 than petrol and diesel vehicles.
- Technology - Hybrid and electric cars typically feature top-notch technological features such as surround sound and detailed mapping so that you can enjoy a smooth ride, both literally and figuratively.
- Novelty - If you haven’t got one at home, or have been considering upgrading your personal car to something more ecologically friendly, now’s your chance for a proper test drive. With predictions that petrol and diesel vehicles will be phased out over the next twenty or so years, it probably won’t be the last time either!
- A quiet drive - if you’re keen to spot local wildlife, you may have a better chance in an electric vehicle as it makes far less noise than a typical car. However, this comes with the warning that you do need to be extra careful about pedestrians, cyclists and animals on the road as they may not hear your car approaching.
Cons of hiring an electric car
- Cost - renting a hybrid or electric car is likely to cost you more - but possibly less than you think. For example, a week-long Full Size Hybrid rental from Avis San Francisco airport will set you back $491.00 versus $445.50 for a Standard car*.
- Refuelling time - Charging points aren’t as common as petrol stations and it takes longer to recharge a battery, so this means planning your trip to accommodate these stops - but this needn't be a negative - it's important to take regular breaks when driving. With a hybrid car, this isn’t such a problem, but if you’re driving a fully electric car you will need to plan your journey carefully to account for this. This infographic from carrentals.com features some classic US road trips and marks out where you’ll be able to tie-in driving breaks with charging your electric vehicle.
All-in-all renting a hybrid or electrical rental versus a petrol or diesel car wins. With a small difference in financial cost, you're doing your carbon emissions footprint a huge favour and should be in for a relaxed and fairly luxurious ride. What's more, for further money saving, an Annual Europe car hire excess policy or even a single trip policy may help you save as much as £130** versus a policy from your car rental company.
* Prices checked on 18th July 2019.
** Research carried out in May 2019 based on Annual Europe cover at £44.99 from insurance4carhire compared with car hire excess cover for a week-long trip in Spain with Dollar, Budget, Hertz, Sixt, Avis, Firefly and Goldcar.
About the author
This is a marketing article from insurance4carhire by our car hire excess insurance business unit director, Adam Summersby. Adam is a respected leader with 11 years’ varied experience in niche personal and commercial lines insurance, including caravan, site operators and excess reimbursement, with proficiency in leadership, sales and account management.