How Car Sharing Works

The Benefits of Car Sharing

Car sharing might just transform highway-turned-parking lots back to functioning streets by decreasing the number of cars on the road.
Car sharing might just transform highway-turned-parking lots back to functioning streets by decreasing the number of cars on the road.
Frederic Cirou/PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections/Getty Images

One of the major benefits of car sharing is that it saves money. Owning a private vehicle, while very convenient, has many attached costs -- monthly payments, gasoline, oil changes and maintenance, parking, and insurance. Car sharing spreads those costs among several people instead of having one person shoulder the burden.

Car sharing takes more cars off the road. This might seem counterintuitive when companies place vehicles all over town, but it's true. People who frequently use car sharing tend to sell their own cars eventually and start using alternate modes of transportation, like biking and walking. They indefinitely postpone a vehicle purchase and drive less overall.

As you can probably imagine, the idea of fewer people sitting behind the wheel of a car has quite a few benefits. For one, it helps reduce traffic congestion and wear and tear on the roads. Car sharing decreases air pollution and energy dependency. Furthermore, as time passes, people hope the level of urban car sharing will tip the scales so less parking infrastructure and road expansions will be needed. This could mean more resources reserved for developing parks and urban green spaces.

Other benefits may include overall better health due to an increase in biking and walking. Even if you just walk to get to a car-share parking spot, it's better for your health than constantly driving everywhere. Car sharing also allows people who cannot afford their own vehicles access to a car.

Car sharing can be convenient for people in other ways too. For example, some people buy huge vehicles, far bigger than what they would need on a daily basis, for the occasional trip or errand. Car sharing offers versatility in vehicle choice. Get a truck the day you move, but go for the smaller, environmentally-friendly hybrid to run minor errands. Taking a day trip? Let your hair blow in the wind by driving a convertible.

For more information about car sharing and other ways you can help the environment, visit the links below.

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More Great Links


  • AutoShare. "Questions and Answers." (5/5/2008)
  • Frankel, Alex. "Zipcar drives toward the future." 4/15/2008. (5/5/2008)
  • Instant Advocate. "Car-Sharing." Transportation and Land Use Coalition. (5/5/2008) share/01.html
  • Mobility Car sharing. "FAQ." (5/5/2008)
  • Mobility Car sharing. "Mobility Continues to Grow." 3/14/2008. (5/5/2008) MM_Jahresabschluss-2007_E_DEF1.pdf
  • PhillyCar share. "History." (5/6/2008) http://www.phillycar
  • Shaheen, Susan and Cohen, Adam. "Growth in Worldwide Car sharing." University of California Berkeley, Institute of Transportation Studies. 3/2008. (5/5/2008)
  • The TDM Encyclopedia. "Car sharing: Vehicle Rental Services That Substitute for Private Vehicle Ownership." Victoria Transport Policy Institute. 3/7/2007. (5/6/2008)
  • Weiner, Leslie. "Zipcar Environmental and Community Impact." Zipcar. 1/2008. (5/5/2008) environmental_and_community_impact.pdf
  • Zipcar. "How does Zipcar Work? FAQs." (5/5/2008)