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Rental Car Carbon Offset Program Proves Most Popular With Customers

Submitted by: Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Categories: Environment, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Apr 06, 2009 – 09:30 AM EST

 

More than 175,000 Alamo, Enterprise and National customers participate in offset program

SAN FRANCISCO, CA. - April 6, 2009 - In the year since Alamo Rent A Car, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental launched a program that enables their customers to offset the carbon emissions associated with the average vehicle rental, more than 175,000 customers have participated. Alamo, Enterprise and National are owned by the Taylor family of St. Louis.

"We believe this is the most popular consumer opt-in offset program in the travel industry and quite possibly any industry," said Erik Blachford, chief executive officer of TerraPass. "It's certainly the most popular program we've seen, and participation continues to grow.”

TerraPass (www.terrapass.com) manages the certified offset projects funded by these voluntary contributions. In the program's first year, approximately 175,000 Alamo, Enterprise and National customers paid $1.25 per rental to participate, generating $220,000 for offset projects. In addition, the companies’ charitable arm has made an equal match, bringing to nearly $440,000 the funds that will be directed to offset projects. This is part of the companies’ commitment to match customers' offset purchases – dollar for dollar – up to $1 million.

The overall impact: More than 42,000 metric tons of carbon have been offset. Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, that's equivalent to saving 4.8 million gallons of gasoline and 98,000 barrels of oil.

By opting in to pay $1.25 per rental, customers fund several certified offset projects that work to remove CO2 from the atmosphere – including farm power projects that turn animal waste into electricity, and gas-capture projects that trap and destroy methane gas produced by landfills. The largest of the TerraPass initiatives funded by the program so far is the Worcester County Landfill Gas to Energy Project on the Eastern Shore of Maryland that is one of the nation’s first projects to be validated under the internationally recognized Voluntary Carbon Standard.

"This used to be just another landfill," said Lee Broughton, director of corporate sustainability for the companies. "Together with our customers, we have helped give it the financial boost it needed to incorporate equipment and generators that will allow this landfill to keep roughly 100,000 metric tons of carbon emissions out of the air each year."

Examples of smaller projects include the Scenic View Dairy facilities in western Michigan. Credits from these projects are verified according to the Climate Action Reserve, a nationally recognized standard for voluntary carbon reductions.

"That is exactly the kind of impact we envisioned when we started this program a year ago," Broughton said.

In the first year, the carbon offset program was offered at participating locations in the U.S. and Canada. Customers worldwide can quickly and easily purchase their carbon offsets while booking their reservations through call-in reservations centers or online at www.alamo.com, www.enterprise.com or www.nationalcar.com.

"We have long been committed to managing our business sustainably and for the long haul, and this offset program is one more way to deliver on that commitment," said Andy Taylor, the companies' chairman and chief executive officer. “We have collaborated with our customers and together have begun addressing the parts of the world we touch with our business, and we are grateful to our customers for sharing in that responsibility by making this simple and sustainable choice to benefit the environment."

The $1.25 offset charge represents the cost of offsetting the CO2 impact of the average rental vehicle operating in the company's fleet. TerraPass calculated the dollar amount, based on the average vehicle fuel economy, miles driven per rental and number of days per rental over the past year for the combined Alamo, Enterprise and National North American fleet.

About TerraPass

Launched in 2004, TerraPass Inc. works with developers of greenhouse gas reduction projects to bring to market verified carbon credits. The company is also a leading retailer of carbon offsets and consumer energy efficiency products through www.terrapass.com. Individuals, families and businesses who are balancing out the global warming impact of their flying, driving and home and office energy use have collectively made more than 150,000 purchases of carbon offsets from TerraPass and its partners. Together, TerraPass carbon offsets have funded reductions of over 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, the primary cause of climate change. TerraPass works with clean energy and carbon emissions reduction projects throughout the U.S., including wind power, farm power and landfill gas capture. One hundred percent of TerraPass carbon credits are verified against a broadly accepted standard by independent, third-party verifiers. For more information, visit www.terrapass.com.

About Alamo, Enterprise and National

The Taylor family of companies has the rental car industry's most comprehensive environmental sustainability platform. In addition to its carbon offset program, initiatives include embracing new, clean technologies; operating the world’s largest fleet of fuel-efficient vehicles; funding research into renewable fuels; and supporting conservation efforts. In recent months, the company added 5,000 new gas/electric hybrid vehicles to its nationwide fleet, more than doubling the number of hybrids it owns. In addition, 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.

All told, over the past several years the Taylor family and their company have contributed or pledged more than $120 million to environmental initiatives. For more information about the full environmental platform, visit www.keystogreen.com.

For more information, please contact:

Erik Blachford TerraPass
Phone: 415-692-3411
Website: terrapass.com
Becky Vollmer Fleishman-Hillard
Phone: 314-982-9198

 

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