Coming & Going

A new car-sharing program and an eruption in Iceland

Hertz by the hour

Booking by the hour can sound seedy for a hotel room, but it’s perfectly respectable for a rental car. Hence the fanfare when Hertz unveiled its car-sharing program in Washington last week.

The capital is the third city to offer Connect by Hertz, after New York and London. Washington renters, however, do not have to pay an annual membership fee. And you can drive the car one way without any penalty fees.

Washington’s Connect by Hertz fleet includes the standard models plus a small sampling of electric vehicles. The company expects to have 50 cars (gas and EV) by the end of summer. Rates start at $8 per hour and include gas and 180 miles per 24-hour period. Info:

Pssst: If you plan to rent a car during peak summer season (July 1-Aug. 15), book early. Richard Broome, a Hertz spokesman, warns that cars could sell out due to high demand and low supply caused by the disaster in Japan, which has slowed auto imports.

Ashes in the wind

Grimsvotn is no Eyjafjallajokull: First, the name of this Icelandic volcano is easier to pronounce, but more important, its eruption has caused less chaos than last year’s event, which shut down European airspace.

At press time, Grimsvotn had stopped erupting and was emitting only steam. Of 90,000 scheduled flights, airlines canceled only 900 in Scotland, Iceland and Germany, plus a few in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. All flights are now back on schedule.

Stephanie Kallab, regional analyst for Europe at iJET, which assesses international risks, said Grimsvotn was “shorter in duration, not as strong and had coarser ash.” She also explained that the European community was better prepared this time around. “The technology and analysis of density has improved,” she said.