Enterprise Holdings, through its regional subsidiaries recently launched efforts for its entire fleet of more than 600 Alamo Rent A Car, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental airport shuttle buses across 50 North American markets to begin using at least 5% biodiesel (B5). The announcement came at the 2010 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Grapevine, TX.

Enterprise Holdings subsidiaries will immediately convert buses in nine markets to 20% biodiesel (B20) as a first step toward the company’s goal of converting the entire bus fleet to B20 over the next five years. Those markets include: Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Raleigh/Durham, San Antonio and San Diego. The company's subsidiaries expect to complete the conversion to B5 by spring of this year, with at least 50% converted to B20 by the end of next year.

Soybean oil remains the dominant feedstock for biodiesel production in the U.S., and the soybean checkoff funds a large portion of the biodiesel research and promotion through the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). Thanks in part to these efforts, U.S. biodiesel production increased from 25 million gallons in 2004 to an estimated 475 million gallons in 2009.

“Soy biodiesel represents a cleaner-burning and sustainable fuel, so consumers also will win from the move by Enterprise Holdings,” says Lewis Bainbridge, United Soybean Board (USB) director and a soybean farmer from Ethan, SD.

Some other good stories for soy biodiesel include the Environmental Protection Agency’s final regulations for the expanded Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) and the U.S. Senate’s approval of a bill that would extend a crucial tax credit to support the biodiesel industry. The expanded RFS2 requires that 1.15 billion gallons of biodiesel be used domestically by the end of 2010.

“This represents an exciting time for soy biodiesel,” says Bainbridge. “Increasing the demand for soy biodiesel not only adds value to U.S. soybeans, but also reduces U.S. dependence on foreign oil and increases the use of a more sustainable fuel option. The biodiesel industry also provides a boost for the U.S., more specifically rural economies, generating jobs and keeping the money at home instead of sending it abroad.”