About a month ago, Enterprise Rent-A-Car sent out an exciting announcement: More than 80 Enterprise locations added hybrid vehicles. Three of these spots were in Los Angeles — and one spot was just a few blocks away from me!

So I quickly visited Enterprise’s website to check out the new offerings. Sure enough — My closest location now sported a little green leaf (above), marking it as a hybrid-happy spot!

Unfortunately, renting a hybrid, I discovered, was not cheap.

On the day I did the search, renting a conventional standard car cost only $35.19 for the whole day, as you can see above. Renting a hybrid standard car, on the other hand, cost $58.07 — more than the price of renting an SUV, a pick-up truck, or a cargo van!

Why the big price difference? Enterprise noted that rates vary. To prove its point, Enterprise sent me rates for a location in Portland, Oregon. There, a conventional standard car cost $39.59, and a hybrid standard $44.54 a day — a less glaring difference in price.

Enterprise also told me that “hybrid vehicles are priced slightly higher because they require more of an initial investment at purchase” — though I found this point rather odd: Don’t pick-up trucks and SUVs also “require more of an initial investment at purchase”?

Still, I thought maybe I wasn’t giving Enterprise enough credit. After all, before, NO hybrid vehicles were available. Perhaps expensive hybrid rentals are a step forward — at least wealthier people for whom the price difference isn’t such a big deal can opt for a more eco-ride. I’ve heard speakers at green conferences say they specifically rented a more expensive hybrid to “make a statement” — since arriving in a gas guzzling SUV could get them in trouble.

So I asked Enterprise — Can one get a guaranteed reservation for a hybrid car? After all, when I reserve a rental car, I book the smallest economy car — but often get a “free upgrade” into a bigger car that’ll cost me more in gas money when I get to the Enterprise location, because all the economy cars have already been rented.

I asked about this twice — but my Enterprise contact suddenly went mum — which I take as a no on the guaranteed reservation issue.

So: If you’d like to take advantage of Enterprise’s wonderful new eco-initiative, make a much more expensive reservation for a hybrid car you may or may not get!

Images: enterprise.com

The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.