Enterprise Steps Up Ffv Use

by : Mike Bartley

Enterprise Rent-A-Car Co., a privately held rental car company based in St. Louis, Missouri announced recently that they will be promoting the use of flex-fuel vehicles on their fleet. The initiative is a response to the growing call for the use of fuel efficient and environment friendly vehicles. This will also be benefiting the company since FFVs are more fuel efficient than conventional gasoline-powered vehicles.

Enterprise will be opening a branch in Washington, D.C which will be called the "E85/FlexFuel branch". True to its name, the branch will be encouraging their customers to rent flex-fuel vehicles which have been manufactured by General Motors. These vehicles are designed to run on a combination of gasoline and bioethanol called E85. The said fuel is called such for it is composed of 85 percent bioethanol and 15 percent gasoline.

The car rental company will be partnering with the Detroit car manufacturer in promoting the use of flex-fuel vehicles. Due to the fact that bioethanol burns cleaner than gasoline, it is being promoted as a substitute to gasoline. Due to the corrosive nature of bioethanol though, it is not yet used in its pure form for vehicles in the United States. The fuel is also cheaper than gasoline in most regions in the country. This is because bioethanol is produced in the United States from domestically sourced raw materials.

The Washington branch of the car rental company is located within three miles of an E85 refilling station. According to the company, customers will be able to refill their vehicles in the said fuel refilling station. About 50 units of General Motors-made flex-fuel vehicles will be available to customers who are looking to rent an environment-friendly vehicle.

According to Enterprise, the flex-fuel vehicles will compose 50 percent of the total number of vehicles that they will be maintaining. The vehicles will be given to customers already filled with E85 fuel.

Today, General Motors produces flex fuel variants of existing nameplates. The Chevy Avalanche, Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, Impala, and the Monte Carlo are offered with flex-fuel engines. These vehicles are known for their General Motors look which can be accented by using visors.

"In order for us to remain viable, we need to have ample access to cars and fuel, and both have to be sustainable," said Pat Farrell, the spokesman for Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

The initiative in Washington is only the start for the company as it plans to open other E85/FlexFuel branches in different states across the country. The company is hoping to team up with E85 distributors, car manufacturers and the government in their effort to expand their promotion of flex-fuel vehicle use.

Enterprise is not the only car rental company to have started offering flex-fuel vehicles to their customers. Other car rental companies such as Hertz Global Holdings and Avis Budget Group have also announced that they will be offering more environment friendly vehicles in their car rental fleet.

Hertz announced that they will be offering more Toyota Prius units to their customers. According to the company, they will have at least 3,400 units of the Prius by next summer.

The initiative by Enterprise comes with the Big Three lobbying legislators to pass laws which will increase the number of refilling stations in the country that will offer E85. Currently, only a handful refilling stations are offering E85 which is forcing flex fuel vehicle owners to use pure gasoline.