On the eve of the busiest travel weekend for Americans since 2000, The Harris Poll conducted a survey in partnership with TIME on Americans’ consumption preferences vis-a-vis rental cars and car purchases.

Traditional vehicles (i.e. those with combustion engines) are still the go-to for most renters. More than three-quarters of all US adults who have reserved a rental vehicle in the last 6 months chose a gas-powered vehicle for their rental. Only 19% reserved a hybrid or electric vehicle. Perhaps unsurprisingly, price and selection are among the most significant considerations for consumers booking rental vehicles. Far fewer report considering factors related to fuel economy and the environment: Rental price (i.e., rate without taxes, fees, or discounts): 73%; Vehicle type (e.g., sedan, SUV, truck): 67%; Gas prices: 37%; Fuel economy (i.e., miles per gallon): 35%; Type of fuel used: 24%.

In general, cost-saving measures are seemingly more influential than concern about the environment on vehicle purchases and driving habits. Only 10% of US adults state that they purchased a new car in the last 6 months. Among those who did not, 47% at least somewhat agree that gas prices contributed to their decision and 37% at least somewhat agree that the current state of the environment played a role.

About a quarter (27%) of all US adults state that they have participated in a carpool in the last 6 months, and nine in 10 US adults (86%) at least somewhat agree that carpooling is good for the environment. This remains consistent among those who have carpooled in the last year (90%). Eight in 10 US adults (79%) at least somewhat agree that carpooling is more cost-effective than driving alone. This increases to 87% among those who have carpooled in the last year.


This survey was conducted online in the United States by The Harris Poll from June 29, 2022 to June 30, 2022 among 1,098 US adults, age 18+. Figures for age, sex, race and ethnicity, education, region, household income, and propensity to be online have been weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions within the US population. Respondents for this survey were selected from a pool of potential respondents who have agreed to participate in The Harris Poll’s online research. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +/- 4.0 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. For more information, please contact Madelyn Franz, or Andrew Laningham.

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AJ Skiera

Vice President of Strategy & Communications

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