Congested roads and increasingly polluted air have been pushing for more sustainable locomotion solutions worldwide. Public transportation and car sharing are two of the most effective tools for fixing those problems. While efficient public transport is vital for every city, car sharing offers more flexibility regarding destination, timetable, and costs. Here’s why you should consider this method when planning your next trip.
Defining the Concept
Car sharing often gets confused with carpooling. Although both concepts share the same ethos, they have some essential differences. In both cases, drivers and passengers heading the same way can share the costs of the ride. The result is always a sizable saving for everyone.
A Car Sharing service works differently. In this case, a vehicle is rented by the hour. It’s still a very economical option because the fuel is already included in the deal. Similarly to carpooling, there are apps and online platforms connecting drivers and passengers with destinations in common. So, even if the vehicle ownership changes, the camaraderie is the same.
Reasons to Change
There are many reasons to change our habits to more sustainable practices. Still, the most impacting benefits of car sharing can be summarised in the three points below.
It’s Cheaper for Everyone
There’s a widespread misconception about car sharing: it’s only advantageous for those who don’t have a vehicle. It’s far from the truth, and the skyrocketing gas prices and other fuels should be enough to debunk this myth. The gas that comes with the car comes at a much lower price than one would pay at the gas pump. So, a car-sharing service can be cost-effective even for those who already own a vehicle.
Most car rental companies have partnerships and discounts for parking, among other perks, for those who use this service frequently. It’s even possible to find free parking spaces, depending on the kind of deal you get. If you drive a lot around the town for work, shopping, or leisure, such a saving in parking tickets can make quite a difference at the end of the month.
Over one year of using this system, you notice a remarkable difference in travel expenses. Those who live up to 20 km to their destination save about EUR 1,500 per year, only sharing the ride. Figures can go up to EUR 4,000, depending on the distance; combined savings can reach EUR 75,000, depending on how many people are sharing the same ride.
It’s More Environmentally-Friendly
By adhering to this system, one can cut carbon emissions by 70 tonnes yearly. It’s a cascade effect that implies fewer cars on the streets in a reality where about 60% of the vehicles on the road have only the driver inside. So, four more passengers in your car mean fewer cars on the streets.
Free roads are also more environmentally friendly than congested ones, so here’s another way car sharing cuts greenhouse gas emissions. Fewer cars on the road also reduce the need for parking lots and road expansions, giving space to greener areas. In the UK, if one uses this service only once a week, it would already represent 20% less traffic congestion and 10% less pollution.
It’s also possible to rent an all-electric vehicle and reduce your carbon footprint further. If you’re renting a car driving in the city, you don’t need a vehicle with considerable mileage autonomy. Additionally, if you need to recharge the vehicle, it’s cheaper than filling up the tank with gas.
It’s Less Stressful
It can be a hassle to maintain a vehicle in urban areas. Insurances are more expensive; parking tickets are more expensive; taxes are more expensive, and everything is more expensive. Any car owner, especially those in big cities, can confirm it: having a car can be pretty stressful. Also, your car won’t always suit your needs every day, but you can rent a different one every day if you please.
Some days you need more cargo space to travel out of town. Some other days, you need a small vehicle that’s easy to tuck anywhere in the city center. There are plenty of car rental companies out there offering all sorts of vehicles. Car sharing allows you to choose a different ride every day, according to your tastes and conveniences.
Besides, car sharing is an excellent opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. You can pick different people daily, or travel with the same group every day, depending on your arrangement. Anyway, having friends to talk to during a long traffic jam is much better than sitting alone, listening to the local radio. Save with internet and streaming services; just talk to your friends.
Nothing is perfect, and car sharing has a few issues, despite its advantages. If you’re planning to use this system more often, it’s essential to be aware of the inconveniences that may come up.
Prices can fluctuate during peak times due to the higher demand. Holidays, school time, and rush hours can increase the cost of the journey. There’s also no way to tell whether a vehicle will be available when you need it unless you rent a car. In this case, there’s no way to tell if you’ll manage to share the ride with someone.
Having to book a new ride every day can indeed be a hassle. However, the benefits are enormous even if you do it once or twice a week. Consider adhering to car sharing if you want to reduce your carbon footprint without giving up the comfort of a private car.