This year, Virginia’s scenic Blue Ridge Parkway celebrated its 75th birthday. What better way to celebrate than by giving away a six night, seven day vacation package?
The winner of the prize will receive round-trip airfare for four people to Dulles Airport, a seven-day Enterprise hybrid car rental, six nights of lodging at stops on the Blue Ridge Parkway and several great activities along the way. The winner and family will have the chance to explore the Luray Caverns and the Mill Mountain Zoo, and to go canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking, or rock climbing. They’ll enjoy ice cream at the Split Banana, dinner at Shenandoah Pizza and a picnic at Peaks of Otter plus much more as they explore this beautiful area of Virginia.
To enter, just fill out the online form. The winner must be 21 years old and a resident of US. The winner will be selected on November 10, 2010 and travel must take place between November 15, 2010 and October 31, 2011.
Green is finally “in” – you no longer have to grow a beard and wear socks made from recycled cardboard boxes and corn husks to do your part in helping the environment.
Even when you are on the road, it is quite easy to help out. Some car rental companies jumped on board the green train ages ago by offering renters the option of a hybrid vehicle.
Enterprise, (the parent company of Alamo, Enterprise and National rent-a-car) took being green one step further, and introduced the largest fleet of hybrid vehicles in the country.
In total, 5000 gas/electric hybrids are available from Enterprise branches, and 80 locations were designated “hybrid branches” where a high concentration of hybrid vehicles are available.
In addition to this, the company also offers a whopping 73,000 vehicles that are capable of running on the E85 ethanol blend.
Green renters can take things one step further by adding a $1.25 carbon offset option to rental agreements. This has been so successful that it was recently named the most popular consumer opt-in offset program in the industry.
Instead of relying on others to develop new technologies, Enterprise is also investing $25 Million in renewable fuels research and helping educate drivers on some basic tips on how to drive “green”.
Hybrid cars aren’t as hard to rent as you may think. Enterprise, the largest rental car agency in the United States, has 7,000 in its fleet. Sure, it’s only 1 percent of all the wheels they make available, but it’s a hell of a start. If you want to put yourself in the driver’s seat on your next trip, plan ahead.
First, you have to do some hunting. Cruise the rental car agency websites for green listings. Or, you can head over to Kayak, which has the largest listing of hybrid cars on the web. Don’t give up. Remember, you’re looking for 1 percent of the rental cars out there (maybe less).
Next, be ready to get tough. If you get to the counter and are told that there aren’t any more in stock, you have options. Ask for another vehicle – temporarily – until the next hybrid comes in. Get specific: demand a date. Make it clear that you won’t back down. If the desk agent won’t be able to deliver the hybrid you reserved, make sure you’re given a coupon for a future rental or some other form of compensation. Most of the rental car agencies make promises. It’s your job, unfortunately, to hold them accountable.
Finally, screw the rental car agencies. You have options! Head over to the local Toyota dealership. You can rent a hybrid starting at $50 a day, and you may actually get better service (such as free shuttle service from the airport).
People are apparently not renting cars as often as they used to. But while some car rental firms are closing up shop, others are taking those lemons and making “green lemonade”.
Enterprise rent-a-car just announced a massive expansion to their hybrid rental fleet.
The chain is adding 5000 new hybrid vehicles, and expanding their “hybrid branch” lineup. Already, 27 Enterprise locations offer online and phone reservations of a hybrid vehicle, and that number is set to rise to 80 within a couple of months.
The Enterprise hybrid lineup offers the Ford Escape, Toyota Prius and the Toyota Camry.
Sadly, being green comes at a price. A regular airport rental with Enterprise (for a standard car) is about $30/day, but to protect the environment in a hybrid, you’ll pay about $70/day. Ouch.
Still, it’s nice to see a major rental company making a difference, and it is always great when customers at least have the option to rent green.
According to J.D. Power and Associates, the company that conducts a survey on customer satisfaction with rental cars, Enterprise-Rent-a-Car came out ahead. Good for Enterprise. This is the fifth consecutive win for this company. They are the only company to receive a 5 out of 5.
Other top rankers-with 4 out of 5, are Hertz and Alamo. Maybe Alamo listened to customer complaints because that company improved its service since 2007.
What makes great car rental service? Car companies were ranked according to “cost and fees, pickup process, rented car, return process, reservation process, and shuttle van/bus” according to this summary at MotorTrend. Cost and fees were what most people were after.
One in ten people report a problem at the rental desk which is a problem in today’s economy when less business people are traveling. Keeping customers satisfied is one way to increase their likelihood of returning.
The companies that ranked 2 out of 5 from bad to worse are:
- Advantage Rent A Car
- Fox Rent A Car
The photo is of Enterprise’s hybrid fleet, perhaps another item that makes customers satisfied.