How Enterprise goes green – in a big way

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”.

National Car renters: get free Executive Status

[Disclaimer: I’m not really sure where this code came from, but am reading multiple reports that it works]

For those of you familiar with rental companies, you know that they give away memberships like candy. National Car’s “club” is called Emerald Access, whereby you put in your driver’s license and preferences online and get a membership number. If you’ve made a reservation, you can then just show up at your departure terminal, jump in a car, hand them your info on the way out and zip away before half of the other schlubs are even out of line.

It’s a pretty good system and I’ve been an Emerald Member for the last four years or so.

Like other hotel/airline/travel rewards programs, it takes a certain number of reservations or “nights” to reach the upper tiers of rental car redemptions. Once you reach those levels you can rent the nice Cadillacs or convertibles for no extra cost from a midsize rental — but it takes a long time to reach that status. In National’s case, the Executive Selection takes a fair dedication to renting cars and traveling, so is pretty much out of reach for even the casual business traveler like myself.

It looks like they released some sort of promo code that grants Executive Status though, and its been leaked around some of the travel forums. Using this link, you can put in your current Emerald number (which you can get for free if you don’t have one), fill in your information, click the link for “not switching companies” and you’ll automatically get upgraded.

Give it a try and see if it pans out. It worked for me.