Because there aren't enough things for rental car companies to screw up, Enterprise is now opening an all flexfuel branch in Kirkwood, Missouri (a suburb of St. Louis). This is another salvo in the war to seem the greenest, with other companies offering carbon offsets and hybrids and the like. The new location will be adjacent to the city's first E85 pump, so that drivers can actually put ethanol in their rentals. GM makes a fairly large fleet of ethanol vehicles, so you should still be able to rent the full range of products in flexfuel form. Press release below the jump.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car Announces First E85/FlexFuel Branch in St. Louis; Latest Move in Nationwide Commitment to New, Clean Fuels and Technologies
As part of its nationwide commitment to promote the increased availability and use of new, clean fuels and technologies throughout the United States, Enterprise Rent-A-Car today dedicated its first "E85/FlexFuel branch" in the St. Louis area, located at 11135
Manchester Road in Kirkwood. Officials from Enterprise, General Motors, fuel supplier J.D. Streett & Co. Inc., the City of Kirkwood, St. Louis Regional Clean Cities and the Missouri Corn Growers Association will be on hand as the Enterprise branch begins fueling its FlexFuel vehicles from Kirkwood's first E85 fuel pump, at the nearby ZX SMACK Shoppe Inc., at 10921 Manchester Rd. Enterprise will fuel the vehicles at noon during the ZX station's one-day promotion offering E85 to customers at $1.85 per gallon.
For Enterprise, the move is the latest addition to a comprehensive, long-term environmental stewardship platform, and follows the launch in recent months of similar E85/FlexFuel branches in Washington, D.C., and in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Dayton, Ohio.
"As the owner of the world's largest vehicle fleet, we are committed to fueling our FlexFuel vehicles with E85 and sending a strong message that we are ready to embrace new technologies and alternative fuels as they become commercially viable," said Tony Moise, vice president and general manager of Enterprise's operations in the St. Louis area. "Those who produce and sell FlexFuel vehicles and E85 fuel need to know that if they make it, we will buy it, and we will encourage our customers to use it as well.
"Today we are honored to back that commitment by establishing our first E85/FlexFuel branch in our hometown of St. Louis," Moise said. "About 25 percent of our fleet at that branch will be GM FlexFuel vehicles, and we are committed to keep them fueled with E85 from ZX's fueling station. It's a pleasure to join with others who share our commitment to environmental stewardship."
The Taylor family of companies, which includes Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car, has the world's largest fleet of FlexFuel vehicles - more than 54,000 cars and trucks that have the ability to burn E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Nationally, Enterprise is actively deploying as many of its FlexFuel vehicles as possible near E85 fueling stations in order to build consumer awareness and increase the number of cars being fueled with E85. According to the EPA, E85 can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 20 percent.
"E85 ethanol is the biofuel most likely to reduce our demand for oil, and GM offers 11 E85 models," said Frank Ellis, fleet account executive for General Motors. "We're happy to work with Enterprise to help promote and expand the availability of E85 fuel in St. Louis, and in more and more communities across the country."
The Enterprise E85/FlexFuel branch will have about 35 GM FlexFuel vehicles available for rental. To educate customers about E85, Enterprise will provide in-car materials showing the locations of other St. Louis-area E85 fueling stations, and offer information on the environmental benefits of the fuel.
"At Enterprise, we know there are two things we need to be successful for the long term - cars and fuel," said Moise. "We need access to both and both must be acceptable to society. For us, environmental stewardship is about sustaining our business for the long term by addressing the parts of the world our business touches. Embracing renewable fuel blends like E85 and alternative technologies like FlexFuel is a step in the right direction to reduce vehicle emissions and cut our dependence on fossil fuels.
"Part of our goal as a company is to reduce the environmental impact of our fleet," Moise added. "But we know our customers care about the environment, too. We want to make it easier for them to make sustainable choices. In St. Louis, this focus on E85 and FlexFuel vehicles will help us accomplish that goal."
In addition to this initiative to embrace E85, FlexFuel and other new, clean technologies, the other major elements of the company's environmental platform include:
— Offsetting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions - Beginning in January 2008, Enterprise - along with National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car - will offer customers the opportunity to benefit the environment by offsetting the CO2 emissions generated by their car rentals.
— The world's largest fleet of fuel-efficient vehicles - More than 440,000 cars in the combined Enterprise, National and Alamo worldwide fleet average a highway fuel efficiency rating of 28 mpg or better, and more than 237,000 average at least 32 mpg. In addition, 264,000 have earned the U.S. EPA'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.
— Research - In February 2007, the 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 works to develop acceptable alternatives to finite fossil fuels by finding new ways to create fuel from renewable, reliable plant sources.
— Conservation - The Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation is funding the planting of 50 million trees over the next 50 years at a total cost of $50 million through the 50 Million Tree Pledge, a public/private/non-profit partnership with The National Arbor Day Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service. The trees are being planted on public lands in the U.S., Canada and Europe.