A major survey of UK customers has concluded that using car rental can help people own fewer cars and adopt more sustainable travel habits.
And despite the research not considering all rentals made via a corporate account, business use was ranked as the third most popular reason for renting a vehicle.
The survey, which was conducted by transport research body TRL on behalf of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), gives a fascinating insight into the travel habits and motivation of 3,700 car rental customers.
The most common journey purposes given for renting were the same for those who gave several ‘main purposes’ for their rental, or those who indicated it was their only purpose.
The most common reasons were:
Visiting family and friends (36% main purpose; 18% only purpose)
Holidays/tourism (28% main purpose; 15% only purpose)
Business (26% main purpose; 18% only purpose)
Day trips or other leisure activities (19% main purpose; 5% only purpose)
General activities (11% main purpose; 6% only purpose)
The findings build on research completed last year, which showed that, compared to the average private car, the average rental car is newer, better maintained and emits less pollution per mile driven.
Transport Minister Norman Baker said: "This report shows that rental cars can encourage greater use of sustainable transport, easing congestion on our roads and cutting carbon emissions.
“When people travel, we want them to get from door-to-door with a smaller environmental footprint.
"Pay-as-you-go car use also encourages people to consider alternative forms of travel and this report shows that those using these schemes tend to walk and cycle more often, helping to improve health and quality of life."
The BVRLA believes that the findings support its call for car rental to be given greater consideration by policymakers.??
"This survey has established that car rental customers have similar travel habits to users of car clubs," said BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney. ??
"We believe that car rental, car clubs and car sharing are part of the same family of pay-as-you-go motoring options that all contribute to a more sustainable, less intensive approach to car use, particularly in urban areas."
A full version of the research project: Rental Customer Survey 2012 can be accessed via the TRL website here.
A BVRLA summary of the research: Car rental reality- a more sustainable alternative to car ownership, can be downloaded from the BVRLA website.