Searches for hybrid and electric rental cars more than doubled in May as Americans looked for ways to avoid high gas prices, according to booking service Kayak.
Usage of Kayak’s eco-friendly filter for car searches spiked by 125% year-over-year from May 2021 to May 2022, the company told The Washington Times.
“Given the rise in gas prices and inflation, we expect to see this trend continue as travelers search for ways to save money this summer,” Matt Clarke, Kayak’s vice president of marketing for North America, said in an email.
Despite high gas prices, more Americans are driving this weekend than in past years to avoid long lines at airports, where staffing shortages have led to canceled flights and hours-long delays.
A recent Kayak survey found that rental car demand is up 84% and airfares are up 33% from summer 2019.
Because electric and hybrid rental cars use little to no gasoline, renters who reserved them for this weekend will avoid some pain at the pump.
According to AAA, the average cost of regular gasoline in the U.S. declined slightly from $4.85 to $4.84 heading into the holiday weekend. But annual gas tax increases also took effect in some states.
On Friday, Californians started paying 3 cents more per gallon. In Maryland, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan called for another gas tax holiday as a 7-cent hike kicked in under a 2013 law that triggered an automatic increase based on inflation.
“There is no reason why we cannot come together to provide much-needed relief for the crushing costs of gas burdening Marylanders,” Mr. Hogan said in a tweet.
AAA spokesperson Ragina C. Ali said a record 42 million Americans were expected to brave “the high gas prices to drive” to drive this weekend as more people avoid the airlines.
AAA predicted a total of 47.9 million travelers were expected to drive or fly this weekend, up 3.7% from last year and nearly back to pre-pandemic levels.