Enterprise Rent-A-Car Launches Comprehensive Green Platform
Enterprise’s environmental stewardship platform includes several long-term initiatives, among them a fleet of fuel-efficient and alternative-fuel vehicles, as well as a commitment to fund research into alternative fuels.
“We know that more and more consumers expect the companies that serve them to share their concerns about the environment. For our company and our industry to be successful, we must address those concerns while also working to sustain our business over the long term,” said Andrew C. Taylor, Enterprise’s chairman and CEO.
Enterprise said 47 percent of its rental fleet – more than 334,000 vehicles - average at least 28 mpg, a number it said was nearly 10 times as many as offered by its nearest competitor. Furthermore, the company estimated that 28 percent of its 199,000 vehicles in its worldwide rental fleet average at least 32 miles per gallon.
Beyond that, a third of the vehicles in Enterprise’s U.S. fleet qualify for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay certification mark, a distinction the EPA grants to vehicles that emit relatively low levels of both regulated pollutants and greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.
“Including EPA-certified SmartWay, Flex Fuel, and hybrid cars in a fleet is a great way to lower greenhouse gas emissions,” said Margo Oge, director of EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality. “We applaud companies that adopt these kinds of strategies, which are good for both the environment and our energy security.”
In 2006, Enterprise launched its FlexFuel initiative, which is aimed at maximizing the use of more than 41,000 FlexFuel cars and light trucks in its U.S. fleet that have the ability to burn high levels of ethanol-based fuel. Enterprise also operates more than 3,000 gas/electric hybrid vehicles which are powered by a combination of gas and battery-generated electricity.
Taylor said the company’s efforts to reduce fuel consumption and related emissions are as much about sustaining Enterprise’s business as they are about sustaining the environment.
“We have always managed our business for the long term, and we are taking that same long-term approach here,” he said. “Taking care of the environment is the right thing to do, but for Enterprise it is more than that; very simply, it is a business imperative if we are to continue to run our business and serve consumers successfully into the future.”
In addition to making the most of currently available technologies and looking for new ways to reduce the environmental impact of its operations, Enterprise is actively funding the advancement of alternative fuel research to reduce dependence on fossil fuels for the long term.
In February, Enterprise’s founding family, St. Louis’s Jack Taylor family, gave $25 million to create the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, one of the world’s foremost plant research centers. The Institute will work to develop acceptable and affordable alternatives to finite fossil fuels by finding new ways to create fuel from renewable, reliable plant sources.
Enterprise has also begun to offer hourly vehicle rentals in several major metropolitan areas, a solution many urban residents are seeking in order to limit vehicle ownership, reduce congestion, and other environmental concerns resulting from the use of vehicles in densely populated areas.
Beginning with Chicago locations in 2005, the company has since expanded the service to other cities, including New York, Portland, Ore., Seattle and Washington, D.C.