Owning a car gives you the freedom to go anywhere you’d like at any time. Whether you plan to run a quick errand or take off on a road trip, being able to drive yourself gives you ultimate independence. But often, this freedom comes at a hefty cost. When you start thinking about the cost of buying a car, the cost of fuel, vehicle tax, and car insurance, owning a car can feel like a sure way to drain your finances. However, joining a car-sharing service can help you strike a balance between luxury and cost.
What is car sharing?
Car sharing is a type of car rental. What distinguishes it from traditional car rental is that it is designed for people who want to rent cars for a few hours. As a result, renters pay based on how long they have the vehicle and the distance they traveled.
The ‘share my car’ system is rapidly growing in popularity. The term is mainly used in the sharing economy – the new economic system that connects people and helps them rent resources owned by someone else when the owners aren’t using them.
How does car-sharing work?
So, how does car-sharing work?
First, you need to find a car-sharing operator near you. Once you’ve found one and meet the membership requirements, registering could be as simple as filling out a registration form and picking a rate plan. Once you’re all set up, you need to know where the cars are parked and reserve one. While this may vary from one car-sharing operator to another, most will send you a membership card that you can use to unlock the cars.
Locating available cars is as simple as going to the operator’s website and looking for the find cars tab. This will show you a map of your area with all the locations of reserved parking. Once you know which parking is closest, you can reserve a car either by phone or online. Reserving a car ensures that there will be a car for you when you get to the parking lot.
Once you get to the car, you unlock it with your membership card, and that’s it. As long as you return the vehicle to the same parking spot at the designated time and in one piece, you’re good to go.
Gas and insurance are often covered in your membership fee and whatever you pay for the time and distance driven.
What are the benefits of car-sharing?
The following are the benefits of joining a car-sharing service:
1. It’s convenient
Convenience is one of the most significant selling points of car-sharing. With car sharing:
- You can begin your car trip at any time of day or night
- The mobile app makes it easy to find the nearest available car and reserve one
- The membership card gives you easy access to the car
- While some services require you to return the vehicle to the specific station you picked it at, some allow you to leave it somewhere near your destination
2. It saves you money
Owning a car in the United States is expensive. According to Move.org, the average cost of owning a car is about $5,264.58 every year. This cost includes gas, car insurance, replacement parts, and other car payments.
Car sharing helps you enjoy the comfort of driving a car without bearing the financial burden of owning a car.
3. Helps with environment conservation
According to Global Market Insights, in 2019, the car-sharing market size exceeded $2.5 billion. It’s also estimated that about 348,000 people are members of car-sharing services worldwide.
By sharing the same car with other people, you help reduce the number of vehicles on the road and ultimately lessen the demand for oil and gas and help reduce carbon emissions getting into the atmosphere.
Car sharing is an excellent option if you’re looking to spare yourself the expense that comes with owning and maintaining a car, simply your life, and reduce your environmental footprint. With all this in mind, car-sharing is slowly becoming a viable alternative to car ownership.