Would travelers be willing to shift gears towards EVs/hybrids for vacation car rentals?
March 29th, 2024, Bhavika Bansal

Would travelers be willing to shift gears towards EVs/hybrids for vacation car rentals?

With summer travel just around the corner, travelers are beginning to book their flights, hotels, and vacation car rentals. A new survey from YouGov finds that a third of Americans say they “sometimes” or “always” rent a car when they travel (32%), but what kinds of vehicles are they booking, and would they ever consider electric/hybrid vehicles?

Data from YouGov’s survey reveals that in the next 12 months, gas-powered rentals are the clear favorite, with nearly two in five Americans preferring to book this type of vehicle on a vacation (39%). However, 18% of Americans say they would prefer an electric or hybrid car rental.

What drives Americans’ choice of gas cars as vacation rentals?

We looked at the factors that motivate the 39% of Americans who prefer to rent a gas-powered car over an electric vehicle while on vacation.

More than three in five Americans who prefer gas-powered car rentals say they prefer gas over electric because of familiarity and comfort with such cars (62%) followed by more than half who make the choice out of range anxiety with EVs (59%) and concerns about the EV charging infrastructure (54%). 

An additional third say they choose to rent a gas car due to the lower rental costs (31%) and a quarter say it's because they think gas cars are the more suitable choice for off-roading or traveling through rural areas (25%). 

How can Americans be incentivized to rent EVs on vacation?

Incidentally, many of the top factors that drive the choice to rent gas-powered cars on vacation have more to do with fears about EV charging, lack of familiarity with the EV driving experience and perceptions about EV capabilities and costs.

Though more than a third of the group says that none of the given factors would incentivize them to rent an EV over a gas-powered car (36%), 57% indicate they could be motivated to make the switch.

The top motivating factor in this would be free or discounted EV charging, which 37% of people who prefer to rent gas vehicles say could convince them to go with an EV on vacation.

More than a quarter of Americans who would prefer to rent a gas-car on vacation say the guarantee of getting a fully charged battery on vehicle pickup could make them opt for an EV as a vacation rental (29%).

A fifth of this group of respondents say they could be turned into EV renters if the car rental came with additional perks such as premium parking (21%). Other possible, albeit weaker, incentives include receiving perks or promotions with attractions or businesses (13%) or getting high-performing EV models at competitive prices (12%). 

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Methodology: YouGov polled 1,000 US adults online between March 27-28, 2024. The survey was carried out through YouGov Surveys: Self-serve. Data is weighted by age, gender, race, political affiliation, education level and region. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Self-serve.