Renting A Hybrid Instead Of Taking My Own Car.

(*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!

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Comments (7)

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  1. Steven says:

    We did that once too – it was worth it to save gas and save wear on our car. You pay $4.59 for gas? Damn……….

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  3. Elliott says:

    I was reading your article, and saw half way through the word “Subaru”.

    Maintenance costs on my WRX:

    Oil changes cost me $30 (with the good stuff) – every 3500 miles or so
    Brakes cost me $400 for new rotors and pads (that’s cheap too) – every 12k miles or so
    New clutch costs roughly $500-$600 (for my 310awhp beast at least) – every 60k miles or so (speedomoter says 58k and the clutch is slipping, damnit)

    Oh, and by the way, that’s if I do all the repairs myself and not someone else to do it, so I also pay in blood sweat and tears.

    And it costs me ~$65 with gas prices at $4.699/gal (on any forced induction or high compression car you have to get premium gas) to fill up my tank.

    I’ve spent at least 1/3 the original cost of my car in maintenance alone (well maybe some upgrades here and there too), since owning the car from when the odometer said 4 miles, and I only WISH I thought about renting when going on long road trips.

  4. david says:

    Lucky you are not here, premium is $5.09! Yea, renting a hybrid is so worth it on long trips now, with gas prices this high.

  5. Yan says:

    Oil change exchange costs aside (which is a really a very small expense) you would have saved even more if you had an older but reliable car, and wouldn’t worry about the miles. At 200K, it is not the miles that wear your car but age.

  6. David says:

    True, Yan, but that would require me having an older reliable car, and buying said car just for a road trip would cost me more than the rental. 🙂

  7. Andres says:

    Thanks for trick 🙂