Hourly Car Rentals Make Ditching Your Car Easier Than Ever Before
According to the latest Your Driving Costs report - the annual study conducted by AAA since 1950, the cost of car ownership in the US is over $9,000 per year. This reflects an increase of almost 2% over last year's numbers, primarily due to a whopping 11.26% increase in car maintenance cost. With the rising cost of gas, parking, maintenance and great public transportation options in some major cities, more and more people are picking the car-free option. But, as the Zipcar commercial cleverly puts it, sometimes you just need a car. Whether you're stocking up on groceries, planning a day of furniture shopping or simply running errands around the town, there are times a car comes in handy. While Zipcar is the pioneer in the hourly car rental business, traditional rental car companies are taking notice of this growing trend and are stepping up their game. This is great news because we now have more options than ever before. Here are some of the top picks for hourly car rentals -
Zipcar was the first to see a market for hourly car rentals, especially in urban centers with excellent public transportation options like Boston, New York and Washington DC. Zipcar launched it's service back in 2000 and experienced rapid growth. Recent numbers show that they have over 800,000 members and nearly 10,000 vehicles in over 5 countries. Zipcar was recently acquired by the Avis Budget Group, which is expected to help Zipcar improve its service and scale.
Hertz noticed the growth of the hourly car rental business and was rumored to be interested in buying Zipcar at one point, but later decided to build their own hourly car rental business from the ground up. Launched in Dec 2008, the Hertz version of Zipcar has gone through a few avatars - formerly known as Connect by Hertz and Hertz on Demand. It is now being branded as Hertz 24/7. The service is currently available in seven countries - U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, Spain, France and Australia and is growing rapidly. Hertz plans to offer the 24/7 service at over 2000 locations by the end of the year.
Enterprise Car Share
Not to be outdone, Enterprise jumped into the hourly rental business by acquiring Mint Cars On Demand, PhillyCarShare and WeCar to create Enterprise Car Share. While the hourly car rental locations are currently limited, with over 5500 neighborhood locations, Enterprise already has tremendous physical presence in the U.S. It's only a matter of time before they have a substantial number of locations offering the hourly car rental service.