That is, the customers want the option of being able to rent economical, environmentally friendly hybrid vehicles, which are powered by a mix of gasoline and electricity.
A similar majority (71%) of the 764 priceline.com customers surveyed replied that they would definitely rent a hybrid--and almost half (48%) said they would be willing to pay a premium for their "green" rental.
Presently, rental companies don't make hybrid vehicles available in their fleets--but most of the priceline.com customers surveyed (39%) said they would be willing to pay up to $1 to $3 more a day to rent a hybrid. That would result in an increase of up to 11% over the average weekend price currently published on priceline.com ($26 a day) for a mid-size car. It would also represent a boost of up to 17% over the average successful offer price for Priceline.com's "Name Your Own Price" program--$17 a day--also for a mid-size.
This could be welcome news for rental car companies because "it indicates that the addition of a hybrid car to their fleets might become a source of incremental revenue," says Brian Ek, Priceline.com's spokesman.
Digging deeper into the survey numbers, 8% would be willing to pay up to $4 to $6 more a day for a hybrid, and 1% would be willing to pay up to $7 to $10 a day more. None of the respondents were willing to pay more than $10 a day extra, and 53% said a hybrid was not important enough to them that they were willing to pay any premium to rent one.
The escalating price of gasoline impacted some of the survey replies: