Car sharing is a newish concept where you can rent a car from someone when you need one. People who don’t often need a car find renting one on demand more convenient than owning one. The renter saves money – no car maintenance, repairs, parking, or upkeep – all responsibilities that come with vehicle ownership.
Who offers car sharing services?
A variety of organizations offer these services to drivers who occasionally want to rent a vehicle for a short amount of time. A typical car sharing service charges by the hour or mile, and sometimes both.
Car2Go is the biggest car sharing company with 2.5 million members and a fleet of about 14,000 vehicles all over the world. ZipCar is the second largest with nearly a million members and 11,000 vehicles.
Car sharing might sound similar to car rentals, but there are several things that make car sharing different.
What are the differences?
- Cars are privately owned, not owned by a company.
- Reservation, pickup and return of the vehicle is all self-service, not through a rental agency representative.
- Car sharing fees include fuel costs
- Cars can be rented by the day, hour or minute.
Benefits of car sharing
The most obvious benefit of car sharing is you don’t have to own a vehicle. No car payments, no taxes, no insurance, no repairs, no maintenance, no gas, no car washes, no parking challenges. You just rent a car for however long you need it. Here are some other perks:
Choose between thousands of vehicles. One day you might want a convertible, the next you might want a van. You have the option of choosing a different style vehicle every time.
If you’re not financially in a position to own your own vehicle, you can certainly afford the car sharing services.
But our favorite benefit of car sharing is lighter traffic. This is better for the environment and everyone on the planet. Less traffic is good for everyone.
Environmental benefits of car sharing
According to a study by Berkley, each new car2go car eliminates the need for between seven to 11 vehicles. That means each car2go car replaces vehicles that would otherwise be on the road. Fewer vehicles mean a reduced number of cars that need to be built (where 1/5 of a car’s lifelong emissions are created) and fewer overall vehicles on the road causing co2 emissions and air pollution.
Having fewer vehicles on the road also means that there’s a reduced dependency on gas and diesel fuel. In the long run, this will help reduce the need for oil, meaning a slowing in the production of oil and the need for fewer oil rigs. Offshore oil drilling and searching for oil reserves have a significant impact on the environment. It disrupts the habitats and behaviors of marine life and marine ecosystems. Since oil drilling would be reduced, there would inevitably be a reduction in oil spills that devastate marine life.
Car sharing benefits the people using the services as well as the environment. You can find car sharing services in big cities and around universities. Check your phone for car sharing apps like car2go and ZipCar to enjoy these benefits for yourself.