HOLLYWOOD — As the environmentally friendly limo-driver to the stars, Y Fray does not like to talk about her A-list clientele.
But one look at the wall of her office — where dashboard placards bearing the names of previous customers are pinned — offers striking confirmation that the Oscars red carpet is turning a shade of green.
From Leonardo DiCaprio to Forest Whitaker, eco-conscious celebrities are increasingly shunning gas-guzzling stretch limousines to ferry them to the Oscars and preferring greener alternatives.
And that means business is booming for Fray and her three-year-old business EcoLimo, which comprises a fleet of 14 cars all of which are either hybrid or run on bio-fuels.
"We're dedicated to alternative fuel," says Fray. "There's no Town Car, no Hummer, no Cadillacs. Some other companies have a small number of hybrids, but they have hundreds of limousines."
Fray launched her firm after purchasing a hybrid Toyota Prius — which can run for 100 kilometers on less than five litres of gasoline — using a third of the fuel of traditional Lincoln Town Car limousine.
After starting out with a small client base word of Fray's company reached Global Green, an environmental awareness group, who soon directed Hollywood icon DiCaprio towards the firm.
While the Prius is the most popular vehicle, Eco-Limo's fleet also includes a Mercedes and a Ford sports utility vehicle that run on bio-fuel.
Alan Shandeling, president of the Greater California Livery Association, estimates that the numbers of 'green limos' in Los Angeles have increased by around 300 percent in the past year alone.
"A couple of years ago you'd never see a hybrid or a green car at the awards shows. Last year there were quite a few at the Emmys, and I assume there will be quite a few more at the Oscars," Shandeling said.
According to Elizabeth Snead, a writer for the Los Angeles Times awards season blog, theenvelope.com, the clamor to be greener than thou had spread beyond Oscars transportation.
"It's just become like a craze, everybody is promoting everything as being green, whether it's a limo, a gifting suite, a party," Snead told AFP.