(*Edit – Since I wrote this a few days ago, gas has gone up to $4.59 a gallon here)
Last weekend I was up in San Francisco visiting my best friend and his family before we move away. It was very important that I get up there to visit, as I don’t know when the next time I will see him will be…we grew up across the street from each other from the age of 2 and up, and somehow ended up only 5 hours away from each other at 36 years old here in California. My wife and I have been traveling a lot lately, and with the price of gas skyrocketing around here to around $4.29 per gallon, it has been hitting our bank account pretty hard – but yet I knew I had to drive up there. The question was, do I take my own car or rent one for the weekend? Since the trip is 800 miles round trip, and we already have over 5,000 miles on our 2 month old Subaru, I really didn’t want to put that many more miles on it especially with another 900 mile trip to New Mexico coming up in a few weeks. So I rented a Toyota Prius and just about came out ahead (if not even), even after the expense of paying for the rental!
Our Subaru gets about 24.5 MPG, give or take, depending on how fast you go. I knew ahead of time that I would be driving fast; I always do on the way up north – the 5 freeway is just too boring and wide open! So for an 800 mile trip, the Subaru would require 32.65 gallons of gas, and with a gallon costing $4.29, that would be about $140.06 in gas for the entire trip.
The Prius, on the other hand, averaged 45.1 MPG on the freeway at speeds, um, over the speed limit. At 45.1 MPG, the car needed 17.73 gallons of gas for the trip, at a cost of $76.06. The rental price, everything included, was $100, making the cost of renting a car and the gas come out to $176.06, or $36.00 more than taking my own car.
Now, thinking about the miles I would have put on the Subaru, the wear and tear, and the next oil change coming up by the time I got back, renting the Toyota probably saved me money in the long term. So the next time you are going on a short weekend trip, see if renting a hybrid for a few days can save you a few bucks, both in gas and wear and tear on your own car!