Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Enterprise Rent-A-Car Up-selling Pollution?

I have been car-free since '03, so occasionally I rent a car or use the local car co-op. Last week when I rented from Enterprise Rent-A-Car, I dealt with an aggressive customer rep who insisted that I should upgrade to a larger less fuel efficient car. He implied that the small car that I had reserved was not available. When I asked if any other cars were available he only mentioned one but said it was booked out later that day. He became angry that I did not want the larger car and keeping stating that it would be more “fun.” Only when I started to leave the office did a small car magically become available.

Not only was the this practice deceptive but it also has ecological consequences. If the rental agency aggressively encourages people to upgrade to larger vehicles that they don't need, they are encouraging unnecessary pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Six thousand people die prematurely in Canada each year from air pollution, thousands of children suffer heightened asthma attacks and climate change threatens life all over the planet. Is this how Enterprise Rent-A-Car defines “fun”?

How do we encourage car rental agencies not to aggressively encourage fuel inefficient upgrades? Are other agencies as bad as Enterprise Rent-A-Car? How do shift our culture away from the idea that “Bigger is Better (and more fun)” and “More Consumption is Good”?