The American Car Rental Association’s (ACRA) fiscal year runs from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2012; therefore, our annual membership drive begins this month. We are hopeful that every car rental company, regardless of size, will realize the importance of joining the one and only trade association that is charged with guiding and protecting all car rental operators.

Whether you have five cars or hundreds of thousands of cars, ACRA works for you. Without the support of our regular members and our associate members (vendors), ACRA would not have enjoyed the successes of this past year.

We are excited and proud to report that the association enjoyed significant growth in 2011. Many new rental car agencies and numerous well-established companies became members this past year. Plus, in addition to the continued support of Enterprise Holdings Inc., ACRA added major car rental companies Avis Budget Group and Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group. These additions confirm that ACRA represents a large cross-section of our diverse industry.

In 2011, the association successfully stopped the efforts of several state and local governments from adding discriminatory excise taxes on car rental customers in Arizona, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Florida.

Additionally, ACRA was able to eliminate restrictive language from a Florida transportation bill that would have limited our members’ ability to manage costs regarding toll violations. The legislation would have also adversely affected our associate members who rely on helping car rental companies collect tolls and fees.

Through the leadership of ACRA President Bob Barton and other members, we successfully worked with the Florida Legislature to address our concerns. This is a perfect example of how effective we can be when we all work under the umbrella of ACRA.

Not resting on our past successes, ACRA is busy preparing to engage in yet another active year in the legislative process to ensure that local, state and federal lawmakers hear our collective voice regarding issues that impact our industry in 2012.

There are more issues we will be facing, including excise tax proposals, liability issues, recall-related issues, insurance reform in Florida and protecting the Graves Amendment in Congress. So, from city halls to the halls of Congress, ACRA is your watchdog and works with its members on these key public policy issues.

But, to continue the efforts of the only national trade association for the car rental industry, ACRA needs all current regular members and associate members to renew their membership and encourages their colleagues to join as well. Together we can enhance our industry’s voice to public officials at all levels on issues that impact your business.

Every successful industry has a national trade association that works to better the business climate of its members. History has shown that we can continue to grow and accomplish together what needs to be done.
Joining ACRA is easy. Simply go to and join right through the website.

The membership fees are structured on a sliding scale. Or call 888-200-2795 and talk with Sharon Faulkner, ACRA executive director, about the benefits of becoming a member.

By becoming a member prior to registering for the Car Rental Show in Las Vegas in March 2012, you receive a discount for the show for each attendee at $150. Vendors receive a $200 discount on their booth registration. Go to or connect through the ACRA website to register for the show.

A note from Bob Barton, ACRA president:
An association can only be as strong as its underlying members. Uniformity and cooperation can be a very powerful influence on those who hear our cause. ACRA has had some significant accomplishments over the past few years and those cannot come without the support and growth of our membership base.

In these difficult and uncertain economic times, we face an even stronger attempt to unduly tax and legislate our industry to help cover budget shortfalls, and unfairly assert legislation singling out our industry. ACRA’s creed of acting as the voice of the American car rental industry can only be accomplished with your continued membership and economic support. Together, we can make a difference. 

Looking for other articles in our January/February issue? Go to our magazine page here.