In the U.S., over 27 percent of all harmful greenhouse gas emissions come from car traffic on the highway according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). So if you want to do your part for the environment and reduce your own carbon footprint, you may want to consider asking for the green option next time you book a reservation for a rental vehicle.
Hertz, the largest U.S. car rental company in terms of sales, has established as cornerstone of its own environmental commitment what it calls a “Sustainability Program.” Under this program, it launched in 2006 the “Hertz Green Traveler Collection,” the company’s line of rental hybrid, electric, and clean diesel vehicles that offer high fuel efficiency at budget-friendly prices.
All vehicles in the green collection feature EPA highway fuel efficiency ratings of 28 mpg or better on the highway. Its hybrid models include the Toyota Prius Hybrid, the Toyota Camry Hybrid, and the Nissan Altima Hybrid. Its plug-in electric vehicles include the Chevrolet Spark EV, the Chevrolet Volt, and the Nissan LEAF. At select locations, the company also offers the Volkswagen Jetta TDI, a clean diesel technology car that allows you to enjoy 42 highway MPG and a 600-mile cruising range with its uniquely responsive turbo engine.
Finally, Hertz is piloting the use of clean-burning compressed natural gas rental vehicles that can emit up to 30 percent less carbon dioxide and up to 75 percent less carbon monoxide than comparable gasoline vehicles. Those interested in the piloting effort can check out the Honda Civic Natural Gas and the specially-converted GMC Yukon models that are available for rent at Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City.
Aside from renting at Hertz branch outlets, green collection vehicles also used to be accessible through the company’s global car-sharing service. Formerly branded as “Hertz on Demand” and earlier as “Connect by Hertz,” the “Hertz 24/7” was the company’s take on the self-serve, all-inclusive, hourly and daily car rental service with unlimited mileage for every hourly booking business model. From 2008 until late last year, Hertz 24/7 used to offer at select locations for hour-rentals of several makes of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles like the Nissan LEAF, the Chevrolet Volt, the Mitsubishi I-MiEV, the Tesla Roadster, the Smart ED, the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid and the Coda Sedan. Unfortunately, because of weakening demand, the company had to exit the rental-by-hour business in August 2015.
Still on the company’s “Sustainability Program,” Hertz’s equipment rental division for trucks and moving vans has a strict “zero tolerance idling policy” to eliminate unnecessary engine idling and reduce air pollution. The company requires all its truck drivers are required to turn off their engines upon stopping at their destination and all its equipment operators must not idle their equipment for any period longer than 5 minutes.