In a study prepared by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRA) for the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) titled, “Vehicle rental: Environmental and Sustainability Implications,” the BVRLA commissioned the first phase of research looking at the impact of vehicle rental on the environment.
The report said that BVRLA is undertaking the research because it feels the car rental sector is overlooked by policymakers as having a positive impact on sustainable transportation by providing an alternative to car ownership. The study included a survey of five major rental companies in 2010 that had a total of 144,351 vehicles in their UK fleets at the time.
Some of the findings:
1. On average, auto rentals have a 12% lower emissions rate than private cars in Britain, and at least 7.5% less.
2. Rental vehicles in the UK are in use for a longer period of time than private autos, in which vehicles are reported to be rented out 70-80% of the time and driven for an average of 50 miles per day, which is particularly helpful for businesses that have company fleets that are often idle. “Higher utilization represents a more cost-efficient use of capital assets, reducing the space required for parking, and helping to alleviate associated parking congestion,” the report said.
3. Car rentals provide people with a way of accessing a car without the expense of ownership. The average cost of a one-day rental in Britain for a compact car was £25 in 2010.
4. Rental cars provide a link to other forms of transportation. About 20% of trips are one-way, which indicates other modes of travel were used at the beginning or end of the trip. The report says that there is currently an EU proposal for integrated ticketing that would allow auto rental services to link in with other transportation options.
5. Rental companies may be “a key early adopter” of electric vehicles and hybrids. “Hence, rental could have a key role to play in helping to develop customer confidence in, and the general market for, lower-emission vehicles.