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Enterprise converts airport rental buses to biodiesel

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By the end of the year, more than 80 percent of the Enterprise shuttle fleet will run on biodiesel; other clean fuel alternatives are also being tested.

You know those rental shuttle buses you see circling major metropolitan airports in seemingly endless loops, poised to bring people back and forth between the terminal and rental facility?

Increasingly, Enterprise Holdings, which operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car, is converting its fleet to run on biodiesel. Indeed, the company has already switched to biodiesel in more than 50 North American markets.

Biodiesel is derived from plant oils, animal fats, algaes, used cooking oils and other renewable resources. Making the switch can help reduce greenhouse gases by more than 85 percent and particular matter by 45 percent, according to the figures that Enterprise Holdings uses in its calculations.

The company has focused first on converting shuttle buses at airports that were located within five miles of a biodiesel fueling station. The net result is that approximately 70 percent of the Enterprise Holdings airport shuttle fleet runs on biodiesel; approximately 50 percent use five percent biodiesel (B5) while about 20 percent use the B20 mix.

By the end of 2012, Enterprise Holdings aims to have 80 percent of its shuttle fleet running on biodiesel. It also is investing in compressed natural gas: 30 buses in Southern California already used compressed natural gas as an alternative, and another 10 will be added in California and St. Louis later this year.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure