The modern world is in the situation of global environmental problems. Most people are environmentally concerned and search for different ways for reducing harmful effects on ecology. Moreover, it is obvious that people want to save their money as well. Analyzing the situation on the oil market, it can be noticed that oil prices are rising constantly. Both, to reduce the costs people spend on driving and not to harm the environment too much, the alternative fuel was invented. Alternative fuel is not an innovation, for now, still, it is not widely spread. It continues to occupy world markets and tries to supplant ordinary fuel. To change an ordinary vehicle fuel to an alternative one in the Lotus Rental Car fleet is a great opportunity for the company to reduce expenses and attract more consumers, as alternative fuel saves money and protects the environment; the increase of customers’ rate will lead to the increase of the financial benefit and company flourishing in general.
Lotus Rental Car Company profile
Lotus Rental Car Company is located in Athens, Greece. The services of the company are available from 9.00 am till 9.00 pm, seven days per week. The main mission of the company is “to create services that enhance the experience of buying or leasing a car. We achieve this by leading the industry with innovative proprietary technology, excellent customer service and years of industry experience” (Lotus Car Rental, n.d.). Thus, to come closer to the mission fulfillment, the Lotus Car Rental should provide alternative fuel and hybrid cars options for its fleet.
Alternative fuel: types, advantages, and disadvantages
The alternative fuel types along with the advantages and disadvantages of their use are going to be discussed now. Hydrogen, electricity, biodiesel, ethanol, methanol, liquid propane gas, liquefied natural gas, and compressed natural gas are the most known alternative types of engines that are widespread in the world. Considering deeper some of the alternative types of fuel, hydrogen may be offered as nature protecting type. One of the best ideas and a good opportunity for producing hydrogen for transportation needs is the algae. Coming closer to numbers that may allow us to evaluate the money-saving function of hydrogen, it should be noticed that “1 kg of gallon approximately equals the energy produced by one gallon of gasoline” (Tuite, 2006, p. 73). The difference is significant, still, such type of fuel will not reach the market in the next several years, but, nevertheless, Lotus Car Rental should prepare itself if it wants to be busy with alternative fuel as one of the basic methods for expenses reduction. Bioethanol and biodiesel are the two most abundant biofuels that are used in the modern world. Biodiesel is rather economic; it is produced out of vegetable oils or animal fat that is created via the reaction of oil or fat with alcohol. Cellulosic biofuel is the other type of alternative fuel that begins to occupy the modern fuel market. The main advantage of this alternative fuel is that it is connected with non-crop production (Bryner, 2007).
One of the main advantages of alternative fuel use is the reduced influence on the environment, its efficiency and economy. Moreover, the use of petroleum in the world increases and it may lead to different problems, such as the deficit, in the nearest time if the alternative fuel will not be used. According to Don Tuite’s (2003) analysis and research, it may be concluded that till 2025 the use of petroleum will increase to 20 million barrels per day (relating to the fact that at a point in time, 2003, when the research was conducted, only 13 million of barrels were used). The tendency may be seen in Figure 1 (Tuite, 2006). It is obvious that people in the modern world use a lot of petroleum that may lead to disaster. The shift to alternative fuel may improve the situation greatly.
Still, the use of alternative fuel has some disadvantages. The USA produced biofuels mostly on corn. Thus, many scientists are sure that the farmland in the country is not enough “to produce the amount of corn needed as feedstock for the biofuel sector, as well as food industry, given long-term forecasts of rapid demand growth” (Scott, A. & Bryner, 2006, 17). Moreover, with the use of alternative fuel as one of the main fuels in the business, the company will have to cope with other disadvantages, such as the lack of refueling stations for the kind of alternative fuel and the additional costs the company will have to suffer for buying the additional vehicles (Hordeski, 2008).
Hybrid vehicles: main characteristic and advantages in the use
The use of alternative fuel that is aimed to reduce expenses of the company and attract customers requires hybrid vehicles possession. Hybrid vehicles are different types of vehicles that can fide on some types of alternative fuel. Taking, for example, compressed natural gas, it is possible to retool a car and make it possible to ride on this type of alternative fuel. Thus, there are types of alternative fuel that will not make it possible to retool ordinary cars, so, hybrid vehicles should be used. Saying a few words about hybrid vehicles, it is impossible to omit the information that electric ones are the most widespread. Electric hybrid vehicles are rather economic; thus, they are not intended for long-distance travel. Iqbal Husain (2003) describes an electric hybrid vehicle as “a vehicle in which at least one of the energy sources, stores, or converters can deliver electric energy” (p. 243). In other words, electric hybrid vehicles combine two types of engines, a gasoline or diesel engine and an electric one. The combination of the engines gives electric hybrid vehicle propriety, such as the electric motor is better used within city traffic, while an ordinary engine is good on highways. Electric hybrid vehicles are also more flexible than just electric vehicles as they do not require of immediate change of battery (Jacob & Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung, 2005).
Electric hybrid vehicles are comfortable, clean and quiet, which is extremely important for some people. One of the characteristics that people should know about electric vehicles is that they can cover not so many kilometers on a single change (Fuhs, 2008). It should not be mentioned that the emissions and other harmful effects are reduced, so such disadvantages as low speed, high price and less efficiency are not noticed.
The advantages of alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles use in Lotus Rental Car Company
Turning directly to the question of advantages of the alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles use in Lotus Car Rental, the step by step analysis of the feasibility and breakeven point should be considered.
First of all, the gasoline prices are high now and it affects the prices Lotus Car Rental establishes. Being the direct costs of the company as the gas tank is full when the car is given for rent. Moreover, people in the modern world learnt to save their money, so the price of fuel directly influences their desire either to rent a car or not. The reductions of prices on the car per day via reduction of expenses on fuel will allow the company to attract more customers. Lotus Car Rental can achieve these results via two methods. One of which is to reorganize the cars they have and use compressed natural gas as one of the types of alternative fuel.
The other variant is the use of hybrid vehicles. The hybrid electric vehicle is one of the variants for the company to reduce the costs and satisfy the needs of some demanding customers. Those, who do not plan to ride long distances, do not have an opportunity to spend much time riding, like cleanness and quiet, will be the constant customers of Lotus Car Rental and the hybrid electric cars. The company will have to spend some money on buying the trial consignment and in case of high demand, the company will be able to increase the demand.
The reduction of harmful influence on the ecology of alternative fuel is the other factor that must be considered. People become ecology concerned, they worry about the problems that occur in the world and try to reduce the harmful effect on the environment. The alternative fuel and hybrid electric vehicles are the main supports in it. A good advertising campaign directed to inform customers that Lotus Car Rental cares about the environment and that the cars it offers are absolutely safe for nature will increase the consumers’ flow. People are highly interested in their role in environmental protection and it inspires them. The opportunity to save and protect mature makes people proud of them. Lotus Car Rental can make people’s dreams come true. Thus, the use of alternative fuel and hybrid electric vehicles is a great chance for the company to increase the customers’ rate and make it known far from the territory of Athens. After all, Lotus Car Rental should point to the renewable qualities of alternative fuels. A vast majority of alternative fuel types are renewable and this is one more advantage.
There a great many other advantages for hybrid electric vehicle use. We want to point to the small sizes of these types of cars. Riding such cars people will be sure to cope with any narrow street and blocked up lanes. Some people do not see the necessity in it. Thus, The Lotus Car Rental Company should cover as many outlets as they can, so different needs of various demanding consumers should be pleased. A low level of size in such cars is the other advantage that may be easily used as a marketing trick. Moreover, some types of alternative fuel, such as biodiesel fuel, “prolongs engine life and reduces the need for maintenance.., it is safer to handle, being less toxic, more biodegradable, and having a higher flash point, and it reduces some exhaust emissions” (Balat, 2006, p. 857). In a word, there are a great many different advantages for using alternative fuel and the hybrid electronic vehicle in Lotus Car Rental fleet. The use of modern technologies and world development will make all mentioned items a norm of life and it will be twice as beneficial if Lotus Car Rental will be one of the first in Athens to implement the idea in life.
In conclusion, the change an ordinary vehicle fuel to an alternative one in the Lotus Rental Car fleet is a great opportunity for the company to reduce expenses and attract more consumers, as alternative fuel saves money and protects the environment; the increase of customers’ rate will lead to the increase of the financial benefit and company flourishing in general. Marketing campaigns must become the pusher of the whole process of adding alternative fuel and hybrid electric vehicles to the company’s fleet. First of all, the ads should be created to make people know that Lotus Car Rental is ecologically directed. Even if people do not care greatly about the environment and the level of pollution, they will notice the company’s enthusiasm. Moreover, thinking about money safe, people should better use cars with an alternative fuel that is much cheaper than usual gasoline. The reduction of costs on the fuel will allow the company to reduce the day price for rent and customers will be able to reduce their costs on fuel as well. Thus, we strongly recommend Lotus Car Rental to add alternative fuel and hybrid electric hybrids to its fleet as both the consumers’ rate will increase greatly and the positive image of the company brand will be created.
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Bryner, M. (2007). Alternative Fuels. Chemical Week, 169(41), 18-20.
Fuhs, A. E. (2008). Hybrid vehicles and the future of personal transportation. Boca Raton, Fl: CRC Press.
Hordeski, M. F. (2008). Alternative fuels: the future of hydrogen. Lilburn: The Fairmont Press, Inc.
Husain, I. (2003). Electric and hybrid vehicles: design fundamentals. Boca Raton, Fl: CRC Press.
Jacob, K., & Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung. (2005). Lead markets for environmental innovations. New York: Springer.
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Scott, A. & Bryner, M. (2006). Alternative Fuels: Rolling Out Next-Generation Technologies. Chemical Week, 168(43), 17-21.
Tuite, D. (2006). Alternative Fuels Look To Solve Petro’s Plunder. Electronic Design, 54(14), 72-76.