The American Car Rental Association provides the following updates on current issues of interest to U.s. car rental operators:
Vehicle Data Access and Cybersecurity
In other news, ACRA joined with several other trade associations and companies under the banner of the American Alliance for Vehicle Owners’ Rights (AAVOR) to file comments with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on the agency’s updated vehicle cybersecurity guidance.
The primary thrust of AAVOR’s comments was that the input of vehicle owners, not just vehicle manufacturers, should be sought on this topic by NHTSA and that aftermarket telematics devices — used by fleets to improve efficiency, logistics and safety — are not inherently less cybersecure than systems from vehicle manufacturers.
State legislatures remain active as well, and ACRA is engaged in a number of issues across the country. Hawaii has been particularly challenging for the industry this year. ACRA is involved in issues that include increased rental car taxes, electric vehicle mandates on the industry, eliminating VLF pass-throughs, and peer-to-peer car rentals.
These state legislative sessions wrap up in four weeks and ACRA will provide a more detailed update on state activity then. Florida and Kentucky are the two most recent state legislatures to pass COVID-19 liability protection for businesses, including rental car companies.
Gov. DeSantis is expected to sign SB 7 in Florida. In Kentucky, Gov. Beshear has not yet committed to signing SB 5.
Federal COVID Relief Program Implementation
Under the heading of “MAG Relief 2.0,” the FAA posted a notice on its website regarding implementation of the $800 million in MAG relief grants contained in the “American Rescue Plan Act” (COVID 5.0). As soon as ACRA has more information on the implementation of this “Airport Rescue Grants” program, it will be forwarded to all ACRA members.
Perhaps lost in the sheer size of the $1.9 trillion ARPA bill, the Treasury Department has yet to implement the $2 billion in grants for transportation service providers (CERTS) from the COVID 4.0 law in December 2020.
ACRA has learned that Treasury will release a grant application form and application procedures in the near future. Car rental operators likely will be eligible for CERTS grants, and — perhaps most important — far more companies will apply for grants than there is funding available. Again, once ACRA receives the Treasury forms and guidance, they will be sent to all ACRA members.
Next up for Congress is the Highway Bill/Infrastructure/Jobs/Social Safety Net Bill. President Biden on March 31 announced the first part of what could become a $4 trillion domestic spending bill that will address infrastructure and transportation programs as well as climate change initiatives and family friendly policies such as a permanent higher child tax credit and expanded family and medical leave.
The president’s proposal could well be coupled with $3 trillion in tax increases on “the rich, investors and corporations.” From what has been announced to date, the issues in the infrastructure plan of most interest to ACRA is the proposal to construct a nationwide network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations, as well as an expansion of federal tax incentives for the purchase of EVs (assuming it applies to fleets as well as individuals).
On the “down” side, much of the president’s plan is paid for by increased corporate income taxes. ACRA’s Legal and Legislative Committee has forwarded a list of federal transportation policy priorities for the car rental industry to the ACRA Board of Directors for consideration. As soon as the Board considers and adopts these priorities, they will be circulated to the ACRA membership.
The domestic automakers announced a 50% fleet discount for April 2021 only. Check with your manufacturers’ reps for more details.*
New and Returning Members
ACRA is pleased to welcome the following new regular ACRA members:
- Kiraya Motors LLC; Nigel Saldanha; Arlington, TX;
- Thrifty Car Rental STL; Christy Weddington; St. Ann, MO;
- L7 Rental Cars; Cassly Bartlett; San Bernardino, CA; and,
- Famous Rent A Car; Michael Miller; Columbia, TN
ACRA welcomes back these renewing regular corporate ACRA members:
- Economy Rent A Car; Alejandro Muniz; Miami, FL
Renewing associate ACRA Members:
- NS Car Wash
- Sonoran National Insurance Group
- Jim Schalberg Auto Rental Solutions
- Dent Wizard
- Rate Highway
- Polsinelli PC
- Purco Fleet Services
*You guessed it, this was the April Fools joke.