In this study, we have investigated the effect of alloying on the modification of the d-band vacancies and oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity of PtPd and PtCu nanorods (NRs). PtCu and PtPd NRs with various ratios can be prepared successfully by a facile formic acid reduction method. The number of unfilled d-states (HTs) value of Pt nanoparticles is decreased due to the formation of NRs, and further decreased due to the alloying with different metals. For the Pt3Pd NRs, the HTs value is as low as 0.3056, suggesting that they have lower unfilled Pt d-states, and more d-band electrons transfer from Pd to Pt, leading to higher ORR activities than Pt/C. Besides, the electron transfer number (n) of Pt3Pd NRs towards the ORR is 3.7, meaning that they complete the O2 reduction to water and exhibit low hydrogen peroxide production during the ORR. As a result, the correlation between the HTs and ORR performance of PtPd and PtCu NRs highlights that the one-dimensional (1-D) structure and the electronic modification effect from Pd to Pt result in the excellent ORR activity and durability of Pt3Pd NRs synergistically.