Enterprise Holdings, through its regional subsidiaries recently launched efforts for its entire fleet of more than 600 Alamo Rent A Car, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental airport shuttle buses across 50 North American markets to begin using at least 5 percent biodiesel. The announcement came at the 2010 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Grapevine, Texas.
Enterprise Holdings subsidiaries will immediately convert buses in nine markets to 20 percent biodiesel (B20) as a first step toward the company's goal of converting the entire bus fleet to B20 over the next five years. Those markets include: Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Raleigh/Durham, San Antonio and San Diego. The company's subsidiaries expect to complete the conversion to B5 by spring of this year, with at least 50 percent converted to B20 by the end of next year.
Soybean oil remains the dominant feedstock for biodiesel production in the United States, and the soybean checkoff funds a large portion of the biodiesel research and promotion through the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). Thanks in part to these efforts, U.S. biodiesel production increased from 25 million gallons in 2004 to an estimated 475 million gallons in 2009.
"Soy biodiesel represents a cleaner burning and sustainable fuel, so consumers also will win from the move by Enterprise Holdings,” says Lewis Bainbridge, United Soybean Board (USB) director and a soybean farmer from Ethan, S.D.
Some other good stories for soy biodiesel include the Environmental Protection Agency's final regulations for the expanded Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) and the U.S. Senate's approval of a bill that would extend a crucial tax credit to support the biodiesel industry. The expanded RFS2 requires that 1.15 billion gallons of biodiesel be used domestically by the end of 2010.
"This represents an exciting time for soy biodiesel,” says Bainbridge. "Increasing the demand for soy biodiesel not only adds value to U.S. soybeans, but also reduces U.S. dependence on foreign oil and increases the use of a more sustainable fuel option. The biodiesel industry also provides a boost for the U.S., more specifically rural economies, generating jobs and keeping the money at home instead of sending it abroad.”
USB is made up of 68 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply. As stipulated in the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff.