What is Car Sharing and What Are Its Benefits?

Car sharing clubs offer access to a range of vehicles without the hassle and expense of ownership. Cars are parked in designated places around town and can be booked for as little as an hour by Internet or phone. The overall effect is that each shared car replaces 7–10 private cars, resulting in less need for parking  spaces. People who join a car sharing club tend to reduce their driving by up to 50%.

Drivers typically pay an annual membership fee, plus an hourly, daily or monthly rate for car use. Hourly rates tend to be  $8–10 and daily rates about $60 — usually including gas, insurance and unlimited miles. Discounted plans for regular users are available. If you drive less than 8,000 miles (13,000 km) per year, car sharing probably makes more sense than car  ownership. Check the various plans available to find out.


Car sharing member benefits might include:

  • A variety of vehicles available to suit each particular trip.
  • Inclusion of tax, parking and/or maintenance costs.
  • Full breakdown coverage, and 24/7 roadside assistance.
  • Cars are normally less than three years old.
  • Discounts with participating businesses.

Car sharing is growing in popularity, and clubs are popping up  in an increasing number of cities. See Carsharing.net for a listing of car sharing clubs across North America and abroad. Zipcar and Flexcar are for-profit car sharing clubs that operate in multiple cities. Both received major new financial backing in 2005, so you can expect to hear more from them soon. Zipcar.com offers a travel costs spreadsheet to calculate the  savings to be made by being a car club member. For more information about car sharing clubs, visit Carsharing.net.


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