The Greening of the Corporations – Saving Money or Saving the EnvironmentBy Cuong Huynh • Jun 3rd, 2009 • Category: Clean Car Talk Posts
Here’s one way to help kick-start the revolution to hybrid, electric and other fuel efficient cars. It’s business travel, or more specifically, business car rental policies. Here’s what I mean.
With all the hooplas about saving or improving the environment, we hear about corporations “going green” everyday. This is true for both those companies providing environmentally friendly products and services, and those that do not. For large fleets like the U.S. Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, etc., they are already looking at ways to improve their efficiencies and reduce fleet emissions. But for each and every organization doing business every single day, business travel and business car rental policies need to get with the time too.
Business-related car rentals, which is closely tied to business travel, is big business. Hertz, National, Avis, Enterprise and a host of other car rental companies operate hundreds of thousands of cars in their fleets. Guess what, all these rental cars share the public roads and contribute to the emissions problems just like any other cars. While the rental car companies are adding more hybrids and fuel-efficient cars to their fleets, just like the consumers are converting to more hybrids, the issue is still about the chicken and the egg problem. Which should come first? Companies to provide hybrid/electric cars, or consumers to demand for them. By supporting hybrid rentals for business travels, companies can do their part to speed up this conversion process.
New corporate hybrid car rental policies can do the following:
- Directly support their corporate policies in “going green.” Many companies are already going green, from simple things like using less papers, encouraging employee carpooling, implementing recycling programs and teaching employees ways to save electricity, to complex things like converting operations to run on solar power, or putting into action various processes and equipment to operate more efficiently, utilize renewable power, and invest in carbon offset projects. A new corporate hybrid car rental policy just fits right in.
- Directly communicate to car rental companies (and car manufacturers) that there is a demand for hybrid, electric and fuel efficient cars. Fleets buy their cars in large numbers at a time, which is a perfect way to say to car makers that, yes, make more of these and we’ll buy them. Maybe the stimulus package should also set aside a good chunk for this sort of program. Compare to individual tax breaks that the stimulus plan provides, I think this program will make much bigger impact much sooner.
- Directly educate consumers (employees are consumers too) that hybrid, electric and fuel efficient cars is the way to go. The consumers’ dollars drive the economy, and for a car industry trying to pick itself up while promoting a new technology at the same time, this is “killing two birds with one stone.” Consumers will have a chance to “test drive” these new cars on an extended period of time as they go about their business or personal trips, which surely beats going into a dealer for a 5-minute test drive. I don’t know about you, but to me, an educated consumer is a good buyer.
But the corporate bean counters will say this is too expensive? Well it’s true that hybrid car rental rates today are higher than conventional car rates, sometimes more than double for a daily rental during the business week. This means corporate travel expenses will go up. But to this I say: work it into the travel budget, just like any other “going green” initiatives, and it will work out fine. If a company advocates going green in its business operations, then this is the an important element of that corporate program.
So what do you think: should businesses advocate and implement a corporate hybrid car rental policy? Share your views with a comment below.
Cuong Huynh is a marketing communications consultant working in the San Diego area. Cuong is dedicated to helping individuals and companies maximize their presence on the Internet and efficiently take products and services to market through SEO and network marketing. Cuong also maintains a blog on Marketing at marketingautopsyblog.com. You can also find Cuong Huynh's profile on LinkedIn. For fun he maintains a blog on Vietnamese pho, soccer and do storyboards for movie and film projects. Follow Cuong on Twitter @CuongHuynh, @LovingPho, @CleanCarTalk, @BlockbusterFilm, @SoccerUSA.
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