For years environmentalists have been screaming about going green, recycling and reusing products, and so forth. So the idea of our vehicles using alternative fuel sources would be a welcomed change. With the dozen of vehicles and fuel sources being introduced, it is now a possibility to add alternative fuel vehicles to our rental car fleet. Through this presentation, gasoline and alternative fuel vehicles will be fully outlined; the history, the sources of fuel, and consumer incentives will all be explained. Gasoline vehicles
Gasoline powered vehicles are the types of vehicles that are commonly used around the world. Gasoline powered vehicles utilize an internal combustion power train. Power train refers to the group of components within the vehicle that generates power. Internal combustion engines are typically associated with gasoline even though variations of the internal combustion engine can be fueled by other sources. The main stream alternative to gasoline is diesel fuel. History of gasoline vehicles
Self-propelled vehicles have been around 1672 but were not introduced to mainstream America until 1902. Older vehicles were powered by steam engines which gave way to the internal combustion engines that are powered by either gasoline or diesel fuel. Diesel fuel and gasoline both cause air pollution and also play a role in global warming. The ever increasing cost of oil along with the restrictions on greenhouse gases and environmental laws is now pressing the world to create safe alternatives to gasoline and diesel fuel. Green vehicles
A green vehicle is any car, bus, or mode of transportation that uses alternative fuel sources. Fossil fuels were once thought to be a convenient fuel source, discovered after alternative fuel was already in use. By purchasing or converting a vehicle to run on alternative fuel, green vehicles can once again be on the rise. “Let’s Go Green”! has been the slogan for the past couple of years as scientists search for a solution to reduce the pollutants emitted into the earth’s atmosphere by the assortment of vehicles driven every day. Among the practice of carpooling and taking advantage of public transportation, a whole new fleet of green vehicles has emerged. History of green vehicles
The history of alternative fuel vehicles can be dated as far back as the early 1900’s. One man in particular, Rudolf Diesel, can be credited of introducing the world to the first prototype compressed engine using peanut oil. Vegetable oils were used up until the mid to late 1900’s and Diesels engine was altered to use petroleum diesel. Americans are always on the lookout for something new and fast and the preference for alternate fuel was replaced by the oil used in cars today. Economic concerns as well as fossil fuel shortages and global climate scares are slowly pushing alternative fuel use back into the light. History of rental cars
The beginning of rental cars is unknown. But many believe that the first legitimate rental car agency began with the Model T, the first mass-produced automobile. Supposedly, the first rental agency belonged to a Nebraskan man named Joe Saunders, who would rent his Model T out for ten cents a mile. Saunders would use a mileage meter to determine how far his car had been driven. The story has it that Saunders’ first rental went to a traveling salesman who wanted to impress a girl on a date. However it started, Saunders definitely had the first tremendously successful car-rental agency. By 1925, his business had a total of rental agencies in 21 states. However, the Great Depression led to many people no longer needing rental cars, and Saunders went bankrupt. Cost and sources of fuel for gasoline vehicles
Rental companies usually buy their vehicles directly from the vehicles’ manufacturer. For example, buying a 2011 Ford Focus sedan from the dealer would cost a person $16,640 but buying multiple cars at once at wholesale lowers the price per car to around $13,000 per car. Buying cars at wholesale prices allows rental car companies to stock their locations with numerous cars while saving money per car which then permits the company to buy more cars.
The current sources of fuel for gasoline and diesel vehicles are limited to gasoline, diesel, and biodiesel fuel. As of October 18, 2010, the average price for regular grade gasoline was $2.834 per gallon while the average price for diesel was $3.07 per gallon. Only the biodiesel fuel labeled B2, B5, and B20 can be used in a standard diesel vehicle without engine modifications. The average for B20 fuel mirrors the price of standard diesel fuel at $3.07 per gallon. Costs and sources of fuel for green vehicles
In adherence to the rental car company policy of buying cars in bulk at wholesale prices, green cars are not yet massed produced. Manufacturers currently create set amounts of the green vehicles due to the cost and time required to make the hybrid batteries. The price for a 2011 Ford Focus Hybrid starts at $28,100.
The Ford Fusion Hybrid uses both electricity and unleaded gasoline but fuel options. If one chose to convert to an alternate fuel vehicle, options are not limited; in fact there are several methods to choose from. The alternative fuel used can be chosen by a couple of factors such as lifestyle, make and model of vehicle and cost to purchase or convert. Biodiesel is the most popular form of alternative fuel with most diesel vehicles already set to use this fuel. It can be made from organic sources which can make it cost efficient with the exception of soy beans as a source. Soy beans are expensive to store, new or used vegetable oil and animal fats are a less costly choice. Biodiesel does not need to be imported from another country and can be mixed with petroleum diesel to help reduce emissions. Ethanol is another flex fuel already in use at gas pumps everywhere currently named E85 and a flex fuel vehicle can use either ethanol (E85) or gasoline to fill the tank. It can also be produced around the U.S. using natural materials like biodiesel and helps to clear the air.
Oil drilling produces a byproduct called natural gas that can power an alternative fuel vehicle. The key word is natural for this gas as its sources can come from landfills which produce methane and natural gas fields. Propane is a clean burning fuel and is used in some industrial vehicles such as forklifts. The only downside to using propane is it has to manufacture and is not naturally made like its counterparts. Hydrogen is another alternative fuel choice and it is transferring the natural element of water into a power source for an engine. Lastly, electricity is a power source that may just compete with biodiesel in popularity.
This alternative fuel source can come from wind and solar energy as well as nuclear energy. Vehicles that run on pure electricity do not produce any emissions while hybrids produce very little. Also, instead of running on batteries, electricity powered vehicles can be powered with fuel cells. The only downside of electric use as a fuel source is the fuel stations used to power the vehicle. Electric vehicles can produce a low amount of emissions which are still considered lower than standard fuel vehicles. This power source is in constant development to uncover longer lasting batteries that remain economically friendly. Gasoline vs. green vehicles
At first glance, the main difference between gasoline powered vehicles and green vehicles would be the effect on the environment but that is only the beginning. While special attention has been given to the environmental advantages the world would receive from using green vehicles, using green vehicles also lowers the cost of pocket costs associated with owning vehicles. Green vehicles have batteries that are designed to last the whole life of the vehicle which averages around 200,000 miles.
The average price to fill a gasoline powered car with a 13.2 gallon gas tank is $26.40 with an average of 19.8 miles per gallon. A green vehicle with a gas tank of the same size averages 40 miles per gallon. Using gasoline powered vehicles vs. using green vehicles as rental vehicles
Currently there are several major rental car companies who have added green vehicles to their fleet such as Hertz, Avis, and Enterprise rental companies. All companies mentioned now include a significant number of hybrid vehicles within their fleet, with a select few even offering flex fuel and biodiesel vehicles. Green rentals are especially popular in large cities where drivers face constant stop and start traffic.
Companies that do not offer green vehicle do not offer green vehicles due the fact that a limited amount of green cars are made a year and there is a large retail demand for them. Blame has also been placed on so called “core customers” who demand large vehicles for family trips and other short term uses like moving. Companies also do not like the fact that E85 fueling stations are not widely available and that some customers do not feel the need to pay an additional $1.25 per rental to go green to save the environment. Introduction of green vehicles to fleet
With the approval to include green vehicles in to Lotus rental car fleet, the integration should be a gradual process. With green vehicles being in high demand, orders for green vehicles should be placed in advance. As older cars get released from the fleet, green vehicles should replace them. The goal within the first year of the introduction of green vehicles should be a minimum of 25% of the vehicles at each location to be green vehicle. If the company is focused on helping the environment, then Lotus rental cars should plan to make a minimum of half of the total fleet green cars to encourage the consumers to help make a difference. Customer interest and rental sales can then dictate the type of fleet Lotus rental cars should invest in. Introduction of green fleet to consumers
An extensive ad campaign should begin before the green vehicles arrive to build a bit of hype around the new fleet and how the company is dedicated on helping preserve and clean up the environment. Ads should focus on how insurance for green cars contribute to environmental conservation and research. The ads should also spotlight that driving green cars release less carbon dioxide and monoxide, which in turn creates less pollution that ultimately result in lower health issues for the whole with the reduction of inhaled pollutants. Discounts should be offered to not only defer the additional charges of using a green vehicle but also to lower the overall price of the rental of green vehicles to entice the customers to get behind the wheel and “help the environment doing what they do every day”. If the ad campaign and special generates enough interest and consumers begin to prefer green vehicles over gasoline powered vehicles the company can then begin to increase the number of green vehicles within the fleet, if not make the whole fleet green. Conclusion
In conclusion, introducing green cars to the Lotus rental car fleet will indeed be a costly and gradual change. With the trends that not only the government but the world has been taking with the restrictions placed on vehicle emissions and incentives for buying green and Earth friendly vehicles, it is possible that soon the world will be required to go green and using gasoline powered vehicles will not be an option. Encouraging consumers to assist Lotus rental cars in helping to clean the environment shows the world that Lotus rental cars cares about the environment and will do what they can to preserve the world for future generations. Including green rentals also allows Lotus rental cars to tap into markets of the world that do not provide green vehicles making Lotus rental cars the safe alternative to normal rentals. In business, profits are always a motivator but world preservation should be the primary factor in this decision.