Car Sharing is the New Black

Things are changing for cars and the people who drive them.

carsharing-parking-car2goAmericans are driving less and opting out of car ownership more, and options like car sharing are giving people more choices for getting around without buying a vehicle.

Car sharing services have made a significant dent in car sales, and that impact is only forecast to increase as urban and suburban residents see more and more options like Uber and Lyft come online.

Car manufacturers are well aware of the trend. Ford’s CEO recently told an audience at the Detroit Auto Show that “more cars in urban environments is not going to work.” Auto companies have started to shift their business models to prepare for decreasing car sales. Daimler North America was ahead of the industry: it launched the American version of car share service car2go in Austin four years ago. Since starting in 2010, car2go has expanded to 10 American cities, with a fleet of more than 3,200 cars nationwide.

Zipcar, founded in 2000 and acquired by Avis Budget in early 2013, operates in more than 50 U.S. cities and has more than 9,000 vehicles. BMW is involved in DriveNow and other car manufactures are looking closely at these new business models.

What does all that mean for you, the commuter? It means that your options are growing quickly; being car-free doesn’t have to mean never using a car, thanks to car-sharing services and apps. It means that you can have the convenience of a car when you need one, without the hassle and expense of owning a car. It may mean your household doesn’t need to own multiple cars: according to a 2008 study, households that joined car sharing services reduced the number of cars owned per household. According to car2go, more than 50 percent of car sharing members are former vehicle owners. That means for every one car2go car in service, there are 15 fewer cars on the road.

For employers, it might also mean less costly investment in parking space or infrastructure, if employers encourage the use ride sharing. New York City uses technology purchased from Zipcar to share more than 6,000 vehicles among city employees. That means the city has been able to reduce its fleet of cars, reduce its service garages, and has saved millions of dollars.

Do you use car sharing services or apps? Tell us about why you chose to ditch your car!

One Response to Car Sharing is the New Black

  1. Looking forward to learning all about car-sharing!