Hybrid Cars Find a Place in our Fleet

Posted on May 26 2013 - 4:36am by Brent Hardy


Last year, I shared the news of the addition of hybrid vehicles to our fleet driven by branch managers. That was an exciting change for Extra Space Storage. Now we know the results of that change. Yes, we keep track of everything from the energy generated by our solar panels to the gas saved by our hybrid cars! It’s all about ensuring we’re making good business decisions, as well as good environmental choices.


Toyota Camry Hybrid versus Chevy Malibu Hybrid

Our fleet includes both Toyota Camry hybrids and Chevy Malibu hybrids. With both cars, we have enjoyed nearly identical gas savings, but the Chevy has a better return on investment (ROI). The reason for that is simple: Chevy costs less. Keep reading to learn when and where hybrids make the most sense for us.



A Toyota Camry hybrid


Property Density is a Big Factor for Gas Savings

Overall, hybrid cars make the most sense for us in terms of gas savings and reduced emissions when they’re used in highly urban areas where they’re driven at speeds of about 30 to 40 mph. More specifically, we found that hybrid cars make the best business sense for us when used in areas with a dense concentration of properties. In cities where we have about 12 to 15 properties close together, we saved 30 percent on fuel costs. This savings ensures that we’ll keep some hybrid cars in our fleet.


Driving Speeds Matter When Choosing Hybrids

In areas where managers must drive a longer distance between properties, there was no real gas savings when hybrids were used. The primary reason for this is speed. No, our managers don’t have lead feet (I hope), but when you drive the hybrid cars at speeds in excess of 40 mph, there’s no gas savings. Also, when the combustion engine takes over at the higher speeds, the cars produce carbon emissions. So, when managers use the freeway to visit different properties that are more spread out, there’s little or no economic or environmental benefit. Learn more about how hybrid cars operate.


Three Cities Where Hybrids Make the Most Sense for Us

For gas savings with hybrids, we had the best results in downtown New York City, downtown Boston and downtown Los Angeles. We had poor results in the District of Colombia, New Jersey and Chicago. For some people, hybrid cars may make sense in those areas, but our properties weren’t close enough together in New Jersey and Chicago. In DC, our managers drove faster than the speeds allowed for the hybrid engine to work. So, while they weren’t driving freeway speeds, the managers were still able to drive faster around DC, which allowed the combustion engine to take over.


Hybrids in our Future

For now, hybrid cars will make up about 10 percent of our fleet driven by branch managers. That number is what makes the best business sense for us according to our tests. As we gain new acquisitions, we’ll evaluate the use of hybrid cars in those areas. Of course, I’d love to grow the number of hybrid cars in our fleet in the future!


Do you drive a hybrid car in an urban area? Have you noticed a big gas savings with your hybrid?