Although hybrids are a popular green technology, it’s used today not only for Priuses and other smaller cars but in large vehicles getting less than half the miles per gallon (MPG) of those cars. Choosing an eco-friendlier rental car should be based on overall emissions rather than the technology. For example, Avis and Budget both offer EPA SmartWay® certified vehicles, meeting rigorous air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions standards. Each vehicle receives an Air Pollution Score and a Greenhouse Gas Score, on a scale of 1-10. A vehicle must receive a 6 or better on both scores, and have a total score of at least 13 for certification. A full 100 percent of Avis’ economy, compact, intermediate and standard car classes and 85 percent of full-size cars are SmartWay® certified. Similarly for Budget, all economy, compact and intermediate and 99 percent of standard and full-size cars are certified. Selecting a SmartWay® vehicle is easy. When I made a reservation at Budget.com, I was thrilled to see the SmartWay® certified cars, easily denoted with a leaf icon: You can also look up vehicle fuel-economy information and SmartWay® vehicles on EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide, which is updated through model year 2010. Where available, you can further reduce your emissions by opting for a GPS navigation system in your car to get where you need to faster (and avoid getting lost). Also, you can skip the lines at toll booths by choosing electronic toll collection when renting your vehicle; Avis offers eToll collection services in more cars and more cities than any other car rental company. Hybrid technology is a wonderful leap for cars and is driving new innovations and products. At the same time, we also need to keep our eyes on the prize of overall carbon reductions and climate protection rather than focusing on specific auto technologies. We feel similarly about not picking winners and losers in the green energy space; we need to focus on zero-emission energy without picking wind over solar, geothermal over biodigesters, and so on. Remember you can always reduce your trip’s emissions further, making it carbon neutral, by offsetting in support of Carbonfund.org’s third-party validated carbon reduction projects around the world. Visit www.avis.com or www.budget.com to offset your rental vehicle. Want to learn more? Please check out our Save Energy page for fuel-efficient driving tips.