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A study in August of last year from Consumer Reports found that through the first five years of ownership, the median car costs more than $9,100 a year to own—about what it costs to own a midsized SUV or an upscale sedan. Vehicle ownership now comes a close second to rent or home mortgage as the largest budget item in the average American household. This figure does not include repairs due to accidents or even parking tickets, which if you live in a metropolitan area have a much higher chance of happening.
Fortunately, there are a number of alternatives to owning a vehicle. You can skip ownership altogether and opt for public transportation or riding a bike. But what if you live in the suburbs or are planning a weekend getaway?
Enter the ridesharing programs. According to City CarShare, the largest non-profit car-sharing organization in North America, a staggering 25 million fewer miles were driven due to its services in 2012 alone. The positive impact on the local environment also included a savings of 85 million pounds of CO2 emissions and 4.3 million fewer gallons of gasoline used. Here is a list of some different ridesharing options to help you save money and time.
1) City CarShare: The first car sharing network in the San Francisco Bay Area (founded in 2010) and still run as a non-profit organization. Membership fees are on a monthly or annual basis plus there is an hourly rate for each car. There are more than 20 vehicle models to choose from and they are available 24/7. The costs also include gas, insurance, maintenance, roadside assistance and FasTrak toll assistance in case you need to drive to the other side of the bay.
2) Getaround: Want more car options and not too fond of memberships? Try Getaround’s peer-to-peer car sharing system. Rental times are set at hourly, daily, or weekly intervals depending on the renter’s needs. They also serve cities beyond San Francisco, with offerings in San Diego, Austin, Portland and Chicago.
3) Carma: If you’re just in need of a quick ride to your destination and don’t need to borrow an entire car, there’s an app for that. Carma allows private cars to become part of the public transportation network by providing a marketplace for drivers to offer their unused seats to other people in real time. Carma works much like a bus, but on-demand with people’s vehicles.
4) Scoot Networks: Scoots are shared, electric, smartphone-activated motorized scooters you can ride around the city. With only 18 cents-worth of electricity to fully charge and the equivalent of 850 miles per gallon, they are the most eco-friendly option on this list. They even emit less than 2 percent of the CO2 per mile of a typical car.
How do you get around in your city? Do you own a car or are you part of a car sharing network? We’d love to hear your story. Send us contribution via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and sign up for our newsletter for more information on new ridesharing programs.
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