When properly utilized, you can save a lot of money by car sharing. However, when not done wisely, car sharing can end up costing even more than it would to simply own a car.
It’s actually a misnomer to call this practice car sharing. It currently describes businesses allowing you to rent cars short-term, such as Occasional Car and Zipcar. This would be renting vehicles on an hourly basis, which can also be done at Budget, Avis, Hertz and similar traditional companies for car rentals. Rental cars and car sharing is differentiated by electronics of the modern world.
How Car Sharing Works
Joining Zipcar or a comparable service for car sharing will give you a decide allowing you to unlock a vehicle parked in residential area parking lots around your local town. The vehicle must be reserved online prior in order fo your key to unlock it and allow it to be driven. Devices track the amount of time you drive the car, and you will be charged somewhere in the range of $6 to $8 hourly.
Insurance, maintenance, gas and any additional expenses are taken care of the company. There is a credit card located within glove compartments of these cars for you to get more gas for the vehicle using.
The purpose of this is to allow city dwellers vehicle access without requiring them to actually purchase a car. It is a convenient, money saving service but does come with some drawbacks to consider, including the fact that you would have to ride a bus or walk to where the car is located.
Save You Money
If you drive very often, car sharing might actually not save you money. If you are only looking to occasionally utilize the service (for example, a shopping trip on a monthly basis) it can be quite economical, saving the money of a cab and sparing you the need to tip and dealing with insane driving.
If you are only looking to drive on a weekly basis or less, this is a great way to conserve funds. $7.75 is the hourly rate in Los Angeles offered by Zipcar. In Denver, after paying the $4.99 monthly fee, Occasional Car will only charge you a $5.99 hourly rate. The cost is definitely lower than that of insurance, car payments and gas to own your own car if you barely use it.
You may also need to consider the application fee of $25 to join a car sharing service. Certain companies, including crasher.org and EGO charge an additional mileage fee added onto the rate per hour. When all these things are taken into account, the cost potentially can add up.
Drawbacks to Car Sharing
Keep in mind the drawbacks of this service. Renters are not permitted to drive the vehicles very far, so if you are looking into taking a longer journey, you’ll end up renting a car. It’s also necessary that a shared vehicle is within walking distance of where you live, and they do not tend to be marked in locations of the greatest convenience, often light rail stations or scattered across town in lots that are not always easy to find.
The type of car you can drive tends to be limited to Toyota Yarises, Toyota Priuses and Honda Civics. EGO is the only car sharing company to offer trucks, while none offer vans. SUVs are offered only in certain areas by Zipcar.
This service is only offered in specific cities and has yet to be rolled out nationwide, although Hertz and Avis are looking to join the movement. Avis bought Zipcar recently and a lot of Hertz vehicles will soon be equipped to be used for the service.
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