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"A society built on green design, sustainable energy and closed loop systems, a civilization afloat on a cloud of efficient, non-toxic, recyclable technology." ~~Alex Nikolai Steffan


Green Rental Cars

After filling up a gas guzzling Chevrolet rental car the other day, I thought again how we were impacting our carbon footprint and how we could do a lot better by using hybrid rental vehicles. Ever since New York City mayor Bloomberg announced his five-year plan to phase in an all hybrid taxi fleet, I thought about impacts of cars in Florida. Previously, I posted here about the current state of Florida's fleet of vehicles.

Left, Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News; right, Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Avis, the company which currently holds the State of Florida contract for rental vehicles for its employees and subcontractors, announced this summer that it was adding 500 Nissan Altima Hybrids to its US fleet so that its customers could choose between the compact Toyota Prius and the full-size Nissan hybrid. Unfortunately, at this time, the Nissan Hybrids will only be available in California, Portland, Seattle and Washington, DC. The Prius rental is available in a number of large cities,(Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York and Philadelphia) but none in Florida. Advance reservations are required to specifically secure a hybrid by make and model, if available. While Avis boasts that more than 50 percent of vehicles in its fleet get EPA highways mileage of 28 miles or more, and they offer flex fuel cars using E-85 ethanol, it also offers its "cool car" collection including the Hummer H3.

Enterprise Rental is promoting its 50 million tree pledge: to plant 50 million trees, one million a year over the next 50 years. Their web site announces that the company has more "fuel efficient" cars on the road than any other rental car company, with 47% of its fleet averaging 28 mpg and 28% with cars averaging 32 mpg or better. Enterprise (which owns National and Alamo car rental companies) also offers Flex Fuel (E-85) vehicles, but no word on hybrids.

Just release the end of October is the Enterprise new "carbon offset" program which provides an option to its customers to pay $1.25 at the time of car rental to fund certified offset projects through TerraPass. (Customers need to "opt-in" at the time of a reservation is made at a "participating location.") Beginning in January 2008, Enterprise will match customer contributions dollar-for-dollar up to a total of $1 million.

The Hertz Company seems to have dedicated the most thought toward, not only offering fuel efficient vehicles, but also laying out the company's environment initiatives which includes donating $1 Million to the National Park Foundation and $250,000 to New York City environmental initiatives, Hertz also announced an investment in 3,400 reservable hybrid vehicles by 2008, with 100 of those hybrids added to its Manhattan rental fleet. Called the "Green Collection," it is adding the Toyota Prius as well maintaining 64% of its rental fleet with vehicles getting 28 mpg or better and 42.4% getting 34 mpg or better. [the companies do read each other's websites, right?]

Hertz also talks on its website about using recycled water in its car washes, recycling used oil and other car fluids, vapor recovery controls to reduce emissions given off during fueling, using "Zero-Toxic" cleaner, reselling or recycling its electronic equipment with a zero landfill policy, using Energy Star compliant office equipment and recycling paper in its corporate offices. Although other rental car companies may be doing some of this, Hertz seems to be the one which invested the thought and time to outline these and other initiatives at the corporate level, recognizing that there were other ways to "green" the company, not focusing solely on the rental vehicles.

Budget Rent A Car was a no show on its website for information related to an environmental platform and/or hybrid vehicles. If one really searches the web site, there is information that Budget offers Toyota Prius and the Nissan Altima Hybrid at "select locations." Note: Budget is owned by the same parent company as Avis (Avis Budget Group).

Eco rentals


Great post! Good info , we will follow up and refer to your post on

Jody DeVere


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