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AVIS LEADS WITH POLLUTION FIGHTING ALTERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLES IN SACRAMENTO

 AVIS LEADS WITH POLLUTION FIGHTING
 ALTERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLES IN SACRAMENTO
 SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Avis, Inc., became the first nationwide car rental company to offer variable fuel vehicles (VFVs) to its customers as it began renting 1992 Chevrolet Luminas at the Sacramento Metropolitan Airport, the company announced today.
 Twenty of the VFV Luminas are part of a pilot program that will guide the introduction of pollution reducing alternative fueled vehicles to the Avis fleet worldwide. Customer perception and response to alternative fuel vehicles, the VFV Luminas and Avis service will be evaluated.
 The production VFV Chevrolet Luminas now available in Sacramento are a low emission alternative to gasoline fueled vehicles. They are equipped to run on M85 methanol or unleaded gasoline, or any combination of the two fuels from the vehicle's single fuel tank.
 M85 is a clean-burning, high-performance fuel containing 85 percent methanol (methyl alcohol) and 15 percent unleaded regular gasoline.
 "We've committed to a VFV program in Sacramento that will help determine the overall direction Avis takes to fight pollution throughout the State of California, the United States and the world," said Robert Salerno, senior vice president and general manager-rent a car at Avis.
 "It is inevitable that Avis and other large fleet operators throughout the country must explore alternative fuel or power sources, including electricity, to power our vehicles. We're excited to be working in partnership with the State of California and Chevrolet to take a leadership role in working out solutions to these very important environmental issues."
 The State of California is actively promoting methanol as a clean, alternative fuel that can significantly decrease air pollution levels. Chevrolet introduced the VFV Luminas for sale during their 1992 model year. Avis is among the first to make the VFV Lumina easily accessible to the general public through car rentals.
 Jim Perkins, Chevrolet's general manager and General Motors vice president, hailed Avis' initiative.
 "Avis is making it easy for rental customers to become familiar with alternative fuel vehicles -- the VFV Luminas," said Perkins. "By education and by example, Avis demonstrates the kind of commitment to clean air and service to the customer that's crucial in California and, increasingly, the rest of the country."
 "In Governor Pete Wilson's 1992-93 California Energy Plan, energy efficiency and diversity are key ingredients to keep California competitive and economically strong," California Energy Commission Chairman Charles R. Imbrecht said. "Clean, alternative fuels, such as methanol, provide two benefits for California -- reducing air pollution and offering a non-petroleum based transportation fuel. With Californians using more than 13 billion gallons of gasoline each year, we need to broaden the fuels we use so that we will not be dependent on only one source of energy for the vehicles we drive. We applaud Avis for its leadership in helping clean our skies and making America more energy independent."
 "A key concern for Avis is contributing to the effort to protect our environment while maintaining or improving our service quality levels," said


Avis' Salerno. "Customer response is critical and is being measured and analyzed as part of this program."
 Using a variety of corporate resources, including the company's state-of-the-art Wizard computer-based reservation and information system, Avis will collect data concerning customer perception of the VFV Luminas, the vehicle's overall performance, Avis' service quality and other factors.
 Each Avis customer who rents a VFV Lumina will be queried in one of two ways: a survey developed by Avis, with input from the California Energy Commission and Chevrolet, will be distributed to each customer at time of rental; or customers will be called directly through Avis' "Owners Calling You" customer service program.
 Owners Calling You is a pro-active program in which Avis customer service agents call customers who have rented from Avis in the last three weeks to inquire about customer service and satisfaction levels and collect specific customer feedback data. Using Wizard system capabilities, Owners Calling You can target specific customers, such as those who have rented the VFV Luminas. Customer response and participation are voluntary.
 When refilling the VFV Luminas, customers can choose to use unleaded gasoline or M85. M85 is produced from abundant domestic supplies of natural gas. A variable fuel vehicle using M85 can have 30 to 50 percent less smog-forming emissions than its gasoline-only counterparts.
 By July 1992, M85 methanol fuel will be available at 44 service stations in California, four of those in the Sacramento area. Avis will be providing a binder with maps showing the locations of each of those stations for customers who choose to refuel the cars with M85. As new stations are added to the fueling network, the information will be updated. Avis is refueling the VFV Luminas at the Sacramento location with M85 only.
 The Avis system maintains a fleet of approximately 400,000 vehicles worldwide. As a major nationwide fleet operator, Avis experimented with alternative fuels during the "gas crisis" of the early 1970s using an alcohol additive to gasoline to stretch limited supplies. The program was stopped when gasoline supplies and prices stabilized. This alcohol additive was so small that it required no vehicle modifications.
 In September 1987, Avis, Inc., was purchased on behalf of its 13,000-plus U.S. corporate employees and an employee stock ownership plan was established. Avis is now one of the largest and most successful employee-owned companies in the world.
 As owners, Avis employees play a key role in measuring customer satisfaction and determining appropriate actions to improve customer service levels. Through monthly employee participation group (EPG) meetings, Avis employee-owners set quality and service goals and actions based on the front-line feedback they receive from the customers they serve every day. Critical data is also shared between EPGs nationwide and provided by Avis management. The Sacramento Airport EPG will have a role in determining how well customers take to the VFV program.
 -0- 5/5/92
 /CONTACT: Robert LeValley of Avis, 516-222-4716/ CO: Avis, Inc. ST: California IN: LEI AUT SU:


KD-BG -- NY004 -- 6420 05/05/92 09:46 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 5, 1992
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