If you are one of the lucky folks headed out on a spring break vacation this year, check to see if your car rental company is part of the opt-in program. Under the program offered by Enterprise, National and Alamo you can opt to spend an extra $1.25 on your car rental to offset your car’s carbon emissions. It may not seem like much (whcih is good for you!) but in it’s first year, more than 175,000 car renters participated in the carbon offset program. TerraPass, which manages the program, calls it “the most popular consumer opt-in offset program in the travel industry and quite possibly any industry.”
The opt-ins generated $220,000 for offset projects, and since the funds generated are matched dollar for dollar by the rental company participants, the program collected a solid $440,000 for carbon offsets. The overall impact: More than 42,000 metric tons of carbon have been offset. Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, that’s equivalent to saving 4.8 million gallons of gasoline and 98,000 barrels of oil.
The opt-ins have funded several certified offset projects that work to remove CO2 from the atmosphere – including farm power projects that turn animal waste into electricity, and gas-capture projects that trap and destroy methane gas produced by landfills. The largest of the TerraPass initiatives funded by the program so far is the Worcester County Landfill Gas to Energy Project on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, one of the nation’s first projects to be validated under the internationally recognized Voluntary Carbon Standard.
So if you need a car rental over your next spring break or summer vacation, make sure you sign up with a company that lets you “opt-in” to go green!