Go on Vacation, Rent a Car, Help the Environment...

By Susan Jones | July 5, 2011 | 11:21 AM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - A major car-rental company is inviting customers to "help save the environment with your next rental."

As part of its carbon offset program, Enterprise Holdings offers customers the option of adding $1.25 to the cost of the rental car, which Enterprise will match dollar for dollar, up to a total of $1 million.

"By opting to pay $1.25 per rental, customers can fund certified offset projects that work to remove CO2 from the atmosphere," the company says on its Web site.

In the program's first year, Enterprise says approximately 175,000 customers chose to pay the extra fee, generating $220,000 for certified offset projects. Coupled with the equal match by Enterprise's charitable arm, the effort has generated nearly $440,000.

“Through this program we have joined with our partner, TerraPass, to enable our customers to make a simple, sustainable choice that benefits the environment," Enterprise says.  TerraPass funds carbon-reduction projects at farms and landfills across the United States. 

Enterprise says so far, its program has offset 42,000 metric tons of carbon, which -- based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calculations -- is equivalent to saving 4.8 million gallons of gasoline and 98,000 barrels of oil.

Enterprise Holdings, a privately held company, operates the Alamo Rent A Car, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental brands. The company is named after the USS Enterprise, the aircraft carrier on which the company's founder served in World War II.