(Marketwire) Enterprise Holdings today announced plans for its entire fleet of more than 600 Alamo Rent A Car, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental airport shuttle buses across more than 50 North American markets to begin using at least 5 percent biodiesel (B5). Further, the company will immediately convert buses in nine markets to 20 percent biodiesel (B20) as a first step toward the company's goal of converting its entire bus fleet to B20 over the next five years.
Enterprise Holdings expects to complete the conversion to all B5 by spring of this year, with at least 50 percent converted to B20 by the end of next year. Buses in nine markets are immediately being converted to run on B20 where the fuel is centrally stored and available: Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Raleigh/Durham, San Antonio and San Diego.
Biodiesel is a clean burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources such as plant oils, animal fats, used cooking oil and even new sources such as algae.
"This investment in biodiesel follows our commitment to our customers and our business to use our fleet to help grow the clean fuel market. By embracing alternative fuels and engine technologies, they have a greater opportunity to become commercially viable," said Lee Broughton, director of corporate identity and sustainability for Enterprise Holdings. "Biodiesel's benefits to the environment support our commitment to environmental stewardship, as well as our sustainable approach to managing our business for long-term success."
The company announced its biodiesel conversion plans at the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) 2010 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Dallas. As noted by the NBB, the environmental improvements associated with the company's switch to biodiesel for airport shuttles include:
-- A reduction in carbon emissions in the first year equivalent to
retiring 40 buses from the company's fleet;
-- Reducing the company's petroleum use by approximately 420,000 gallons
in the first year its buses run on biodiesel;
-- Reducing the emission of particulate matter, which has been shown to be
a human health hazard; and
-- Reducing the emission of hydrocarbons, which contribute to the
localized formation of smog.
"Enterprise Holdings' move to cleaner burning, renewable biodiesel is a premier example of corporate responsibility," said NBB Chief Executive Officer Joe Jobe. "We are pleased that as Enterprise Holdings proactively seeks cleaner energy alternatives, biodiesel is among the solutions."
The White House last week detailed efforts to build a new clean energy economy, expressing strong support for biofuels. Among other measures, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule to implement the renewable fuels standard of 36 billion gallons by 2022. The EPA guidelines identify biodiesel as an advanced biofuel and require 1.15 billion gallons of biodiesel be used domestically by the end of 2010.
"Biodiesel has the best energy balance and the best greenhouse gas reduction of any fuel that is currently in the commercial marketplace, and is the only advanced biofuel that has reached commercialization in the U.S.," Jobe said.
In addition to embracing biodiesel and other alternative fuels as they become commercially viable, Enterprise Holdings also provides strong support for renewable fuels research. In 2007, the company's owners, the Taylor family, made a $25 million grant to the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis to create the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels. Led by renowned plant researcher Dr. Richard Sayre, top scientists work at the Institute to develop alternatives to finite fossil fuels by finding new ways to create fuel from renewable, reliable plant sources.
"The combination of energy independence and our need to identify alternative sources for our fuels is the future. I believe biofuels are bringing us a step closer to achieving these critical goals and Enterprise is enabling science to become a reality," said Sayre, director of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels.
Sayre joined Broughton at the NBB's National Conference, speaking about the Institute's focus on using renewable, reliable plant sources to produce "third-generation" biofuels that can someday be used on a large scale to power cars, trucks and aircraft. "Our research today is going to have a profound impact on the fuel we use tomorrow."
Enterprise Holdings' support for current and emerging renewable fuels and alternative engine technologies is just a part of its industry-leading environmental stewardship platform, which also includes:
-- The world's largest fleet of fuel-efficient vehicles - More than
410,000 cars in the combined Alamo, Enterprise and National fleet that
average a highway fuel efficiency rating of at least 28 mpg or better;
approximately 230,000 average 32 mpg or better; and nearly 470,000 have
earned 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 CO2.
-- Customer Carbon Offsets - Alamo, Enterprise and National customers can
offset the CO2 emissions of their rental cars by opting to pay $1.25
per rental to fund certified offset projects through TerraPass. The
company's charitable foundation will match customer contributions
dollar-for-dollar, up to $1 million. In the first year, the carbon
offset program generated $440,000 and offset 42,000 metric tons of
-- Conservation - The company's charitable foundation has pledged $50
million to plant 50 million trees over 50 years through the 50 Million
Tree Pledge, a public/private/nonprofit partnership with the Arbor Day
Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service. Trees are being planted on
public lands in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
All told, over the past several years Enterprise Holdings and the Taylor family have contributed or pledged more than $120 million to environmental initiatives. About Enterprise Holdings
Enterprise Holdings, through its regional subsidiaries, owns and operates more than 1 million cars and trucks, the largest fleet of passenger vehicles in the world today, under the Alamo Rent A Car, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental brands. As North America's largest and most comprehensive car rental company, Enterprise Holdings also operates a network of more than 7,600 car rental locations in neighborhoods and at airports worldwide, and leads the industry with more than a third of all airport business in the U.S. and Canada. READ MORE