Enterprise Rent-A-Car Expands Its Hybrid Fleet Nationwide

By dancurranjr On February 4th, 2009

Clayton-based Enterprise Rent-A-Car is adding 5,000 hybrids nationwide to its fleet and has designated about 80 of its 6,100 U.S. rental locations as “hybrid branches,” the car-rental company said today.

The “hybrid branches” will be more concentrated in hybrids than other locations and will allow customers to reserve the hybrids online or by phone, spokeswoman Lisa Martini said.

In the St. Louis area, the branches at 8844 Ladue Rd. in Clayton and at 1 S. Broadway in downtown St. Louis received the hybrid location designation. The Lambert-St. Louis International Airport office will soon be named the third local hybrid branch. About 60 hybrids — including the Toyota Prius, Ford Escape and Toyota Camry — will be available among the three locations, Martini said.

With the addition of the 5,000 vehicles, Enterprise will have a total of 7,000 hybrids.

Hybrids typically cost more to buy than their traditional gas-powered counterparts. Since Enterprise’s initial investment will be higher, the rental rate will be slightly more, Martini said. For example, a vehicle in Enterprise’s “standard” lineup costs about $39.63 per day, while a “standard” hybrid like the Prius costs about $43.59 a day, Martini said, quoting today’s rate.

Hybrids have received plenty of attention since gas prices jumped to $4 a gallon this summer. This segment was one of the most talked-about groups of vehicles at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last month. But as gas prices have fallen below $2 a gallon, consumers’ interest in hybrids has waned, analysts have said.

Despite the lower gas prices, Enterprise still sees demand for fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles, Martini said.

Although today’s announcements apply to the Enterprise brand, the Alamo and National brand locations rent another 2,000 hybrids. Enterprise-owner Andy Taylor and his family also own these brands.

Together, the three brands operate more than 1 million vehicles worldwide.

Source: STL Today

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