It looks like rental-car chain giant Hertz is expanding its business in New York to include the market currently served by Zipcar, which caters to New York residents who want regular access to a car for just a few hours or so a month. Hertz issued a press release today publicizing its new "Hertz Hourly Rental" program that allows customers to stop by three of the company's Manhattan locations and rent a car for a base price of $12 an hour. Reservations by phone are accepted at 800-HERTZ-HR, but not available over the Hertz website.

Zipcar's pricing structure is a little different, with a one-time application fee of $25 and either annual or monthly charges. The extra value plan costs $50 a month and drivers can get rates of $8.65 an hour and $58.65 a day. The occasional driving plan involves a $50 annual fee and users can drive from $10 an hour and $69 a day. Gas, parking and insurance are included in both Zipcar options.

It looks like the better option price-wise would depend on customers' rental habits. We'll hazard a guess and say that consumers will wind up going with the company that provides better service, like making sure cars are available when needed.