Enterprise Holdings (Alamo, Enterprise, and National) has a history of philanthropy that's connected with environmental efforts. The company recently received substantial positive attention for a $30 million, five-year project with The Nature Conservancy. The company even allows renters to get involved in environmental initiatives by offering CO2 Offsets on rentals through a company called TerraPass, and that's where the Fee Detective hops in to the fray. While our team spends a lot of time enjoying nature, we never purchase one of those offsets. And it's not that we're bad people -- it's that governments provide incentives to support the cause in different ways and simultaneously get in the way with disincentives. We find greater value contributing in other ways, as governments can punish renters who purchase these CO2 Offsets and provide benefits if those offsets are purchased elsewhere ... The result is that these CO2 Offsets -- like all other add-ons offered by the rental car companies -- aren't necessarily the best deal for renters. 

How Do the Carbon Offsets Work?

The three Enterprise Holdings company offer the carbon offset for $1.25 per rental (1-30 days) with another $1.25 for each additional 30 days -- we recommend checking with personal insurance policies before ever making a rental more than 28 days (most coverage ends after 28 or 30 days). The offset fee for a 4-hour rental would be the same as that for a 4-week rental. And while the base proceeds always go to TerraPass to fund sustainability projects, Enterprise offers a match (up to $1 million, which may already have been reached) while Alamo and National don't list that match.

Enterprise Terminology 

Enterprise Rent-A-Car is pleased to offer you the opportunity to benefit the environment by offsetting greenhouse gas emissions generated by a rental vehicle. For just $1.25 you can offset emissions produced by the average rental. The money will go to TerraPass to fund certified offset projects that work to remove carbon from the atmosphere. What's more, we will match these customer contributions dollar-for-dollar up to $1 million dollars.

Alamo and National Terminology

CO2 Offset is an optional environmental service, chosen at the time of reservation that affords you the opportunity to offset the greenhouse gases emitted by the vehicle when it burns fossil fuel and releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. This per-rental charge represents the estimated amount (as calculated by terrapass, inc., a CO2 Offset firm) necessary to offset the CO2 emissions produced by the average rental transaction and is not based upon your specific vehicle or miles driven. Funds collected from this charge are remitted to terrapass, inc. See www.terrapass.com for more information.

How Can Governments Mess Up $1.25 Per Rental?

Governments influence behavior via taxes, and many local governments and airports tax all revenue collected by a rental car company. In those jurisdictions, the CO2 Offset fee paid to the rental car company but given to another company can be subjected to various local taxes and fees. Yes, many but not all governments/airports -- Los Angeles International Airport happens to be a notable exception -- are happy to impose taxes and fees on money renters are paying for environmental causes. So the disincentive is clear, as no one wants to willingly pay sales taxes and airport fees when choosing to help protect the environment!

What's the incentive for contributing in another way? Well, TerraPass is effectively a social enterprise and is part of a for-profit company (not a non-profit); it's part of the publicly-held utility Just Energy Group. High-volume renters who want to contribute to environmental protection could instead elect to donate to a registered non-profit and -- based upon tax circumstances -- could conceivably include the contributions in their itemized charitable deductions. 

Although we're not tax advisors or accountants, we know multiple ways around both of these issues if Enterprise Holdings wants to engage AutoSlash Consulting Services.

We're definitely fans of organizations that use for-profit enterprises to help the greater public good. And while Enterprise Holdings offer for a CO2 Offset might be tempting on a single rental, members of our team have a lot of rentals -- we know we can avoid paying local taxes/fees and receive tax breaks if we contribute to a non-profit focused on CO2 Offsets. While TerraPass' work might be excellent, we're always happiest when making a difference to society without paying additional taxes for the privilege of doing so!


Ready to rent your next rental car? Pollution is a result of all forms of motorized transportation, so it's nice to think about how to offset our own footprints. If you save enough money on your upcoming rentals by requesting quotes below, you'll be able to buy CO2 Offsets to your heart's desire!

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