New On-Line Car Rental Biz Promising Carbon Offsets With Every Deal

By John O'Dell October 1, 2008

vroom1.jpg OK kids, this one is for the eco-conscious but kinda lazy amongst us - those who especially like the idea of being planet-friendly when all the work is done for 'em.

Vroom Vroom Vroom (hey, that's it's name!), an on-line car rental site with a green consciousness, is launching U.S. operations today and says that it wants to make you feel good about renting cars. 

The company won't limit your choices to green cars, but says insterad it will be purchasing carbon offset credits with each rental booked though its service.

Peter Thornton, VVV's chief executive, says the carbon offset program is a new one for the 6-year-old company Australian company, which has become profitable and wants to share its good fortune. "We're doing this because environmental protection is an important issue for us and our customers," he said

People still need cars and car rentals, Thornton said, and buying carbon emission offsets for them is a means by which Vroom can help mitigate the environmental impact of its business.

It also helps set the company apart from competitors

Vroom's U.S. website has been up for almost a year, but without any promotion in a sort of soft launch.

With its official "grand opening" today, Thornton said, the company will purchase carbon credits to cover all of the car rentals it has arranged in the past year ( it is doing about 30 cars a day in the U.S. right now) as well as credits for each car rental it books going forward.

Thornton said he also plans to expand the program to cover the company's other markets -- Australia, New Zealand , the United Kingdom and Canada.

The nice thing is that Thornton promises the cash for the carbon offsets is coming from regular revenue and will not add a dime to the cost of a car rental.

And just for that, we'll give 'em a couple extra lines about their business.

The company works like other aggregators, offering a one-stop website that pulls together the available vehicles from all the major car rental firms in all of their locations (well, in 2,000 locations according to VVV's announcement).

Unlike some, it is a rental car site only - so no hotels, flights, train tickets or whatever.

Thornton says VVV provides a low price guarantee ($10 bucks back if you can find a lower rate for the same car elsewhere), has no restrictions on cancellations and can complete an on-line  reservation in just 28.5 seconds  (we'd be more impressed if they could just get us away from the rental counter that fast when we go to pick up the car).

John O'Dell, Senior Editor

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greenpony says: 10:21 AM, 10.01.08

So their business model is such: offer a no-frills car rental booking service, whereby the company purchases carbon credits to offset the carbon footprints of the rentals it arranges without passing on that cost to consumers. I can go to Enterprise and for like an extra $1.50 purchase carbon credits for my rental. Not really worth it in my opinion, but for the penny pinchers out there, it might be a big deal.

One thing I've never been clear on. When one purchases a carbon offset credit, where does the money go?

travelexpert says: 7:00 PM, 10.01.08

Greenpony! It's a big deal, since they've taken on full environment responsibility instead of leaving it an "option extra". Also, I've used them like 5 times in the last year now cause they guarantee cheapest prices.

Carbon credit money goes towards planting trees, wind generators, etc...


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