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The future of the rental car industry could be electric

Unused rental cars at Kahului Airport, Maui, Hawaiʻi. April 01, 2020
Forest and Kim Starr
Wikimedia Commons
Unused rental cars at Kahului Airport, Maui, Hawaiʻi. April 01, 2020

State advocates for cleaner transportation are setting their sights on the rental car industry.

Senate Bill 973 would mandate the incorporation of zero-emission or plug-in hybrid vehicles into rental car fleets by 2035. This will also include tour buses and other visitor transportation.

The clean energy nonprofit Blue Planet Foundation is backing the legislation, which states that "public vehicle fleets and rental motor vehicle fleets are responsible for the largest sources of vehicle pollution."

Jodi Robinson, a policy analyst for the foundation, noted that ground transportation makes up a significant portion of the state’s emissions, and the rental industry could change the way energy is used.

"The rental car industry plays a huge role in our ground transportation emissions," Robinson said.

Robinson said the tides are already turning towards more electric rental vehicles across the nation. For instance, the rental car company Hertz plans to have one-quarter of its fleet be electric by 2024.

"There is a huge opportunity for the tourism industry to make that transition and really help to drive down our total emissions from transportation," Robinson said.

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