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Rental Car Carbon Offsets Offered to Drivers

nterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car customers can fund certified carbon-offset projects administered by TerraPass.

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Rental Car Companies Develop Alternatives for Carbon-Offset Customers

October 31, 2007 -- Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car will allow customers to pay an extra $1.25 to fund certified carbon-offset projects administered by the company TerraPass. The companies will match up to $1 million next year, although the companies said they could expand their contribution later depending on demand.

All three companies are owned by the Taylor family of St. Louis and together they operate the world's largest automotive fleet. The program will begin in January in the United States and Canada and expand to Europe mid-year.

Half of Customers Show Interest in Carbon Offset Program

Pat Farrell, an Enterprise vice president, said the company decided to launch the initiative after its surveys showed that almost half its customers said they were interested in participating in an offset program.

"Our goal is to spend that full million through the matching program," Farrell said.

Farrell said the companies intend to review the offset program every year and determine whether it needs to be expanded or whether it should consider other alternatives.

Farrell also described the initiative as the companies' most recent environmental effort, which includes purchasing more fuel-efficient vehicles, making available more than 50,000 flex-fuel vehicles and providing $25 million for a renewable fuel research institute.

"We're not the scientists, we're not the manufacturers, but we do have such a large fleet that we can purchase those vehicles, those technologies and have consumers tell us whether those alternatives are going to work in a free-market setting," Farrell said.

Farrell said the company viewed the initiatives as key to its survival as oil prices climb and customers are looking for transportation alternatives.

"We're going to have to have access to a lot of cars, a lot of fuel and we're going to have to have customers continue to rely on automobiles for transportation," he said. "If that doesn't happen ... that could curtail our growth and curtail our success."

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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