Are rental companies too ‘traditional’ for EU emissions forum?
Car rental companies are frustrated by their exclusion from the Expert Group on Urban Mobility (EGUM), established last October by the European Commission as a forum for transport stakeholders on how to lower emissions in Europe’s cities.
EURACTIV reports the ‘Car Rental Coalition’ (i.e. Avis, Europcar and Hertz) wrote to Henrik Hololei, the EU’s Director-General for Mobility and Transport, to express their “deep concern” about the “growing exclusion of the car rental sector” from formal discussions on green urban mobility in the EU.
The Coalition laments the perception of car rental as ‘traditional’ and of car sharing as ‘progressive’ in terms of helping to fight emissions, even though app-based vehicle rental services are blurring the line between both offerings, in so far that they’re now “variations of essentially the same service.”
In fact, the car rental sector “represents one of the earliest forms of mobility-as-a-service and expects to play an important role in the shift from a vehicle ‘ownership’ to a vehicle ‘usage’ model, helping to reduce congestion and pollution.”
The European Commission regularly sets up expert groups to inform legislation. Even though membership is unpaid and their advice is non-binding, these groups are seen as highly influential.
The European Commission says it received 90 applications for the 25 places available in the EGUM, and that while no rental companies were selected, they were put on the reserve list. Moreover, the Commission can invite outside experts to the EGUM, if so required.
EGUM members include ride-hailing association MOVE EU, vehicle manufacturers association ACEA, e-mobility association AVERE and public transport operators association UITP. The rental companies claim, however, that “our experience and expertise in this area cannot be replicated by other accepted stakeholders.” They have requested a meeting with the Director-General.
We asked several rental companies for their take on this issue. Here’s the response by Sixt: “Rental companies bring a highly valuable perspective to the table. For people without a car, or thinking of going without one, we have many offers, from short- to long-term rentals, ridehailing and carsharing.”
“And for people with an ICE, we can be the inspiration to switch to an EV as their next vehicle. A Sixt study shows nearly two-thirds of our customers use rental cars to get to know EVs. For 55%, prior use of an EV rental is important in deciding to go electric.”