Car Sharing Programs

A lot of budget-conscious drivers are finding alternatives to driving, insuring and maintaining their own cars as the price of oil and gas continually rises. Pubic transportation and carpooling are two of the most popular options, but there is one more option that is catching on quite quickly: car sharing programs.

Car sharing is really a great idea; it allows you to have access to a car whenever you need one but significantly reduces the costs associated with owning your own set of wheels. All you have to do is  reserve and pay for a car to use for a set number of hours or days. There are special parking lots around the area where they are stationed, and you can pick up and drop off your reserved car at any one of the special spots. Prices vary by date, time and location, and each company has different mileage or time limits.

There are some really great perks of car sharing that can reduce your costs of owning a car. With larger companies like ZipCar, you don’t have to worry about paying for gas because there’s a gas card in each of their cars that you can use to fill up your tank. Insurance is also not needed – with ZipCar, comprehensive insurance is included with their hourly rate. It is a good idea, however, to keep your medical records with you when you are using car sharing programs. Many physicians now use electronic medical records, or EMR,¬† so your information can be accessed outside of the office. In the event of an accident, the car’s registration or insurance cards will not have your information, so any medical crews will not be able to easily identify you or your medical needs if you are unable to speak with them.

And not to worry, these car sharing programs don’t hook you up with a junky, dented car from the 60′s. Most programs offer cars that are no more than 3 years old and are often hybrids or eco-friendly, fuel-efficient vehicles. Car sharing can now be found in most large cities in the U.S. and in Canada and are gaining popularity at hundreds of University campuses. This concept is really popular in Europe, and will likely keep gaining steam here in the Americas.

Companies like ZipCar, Connect by Hertz, UCarShare by U-Haul, and WeCar by Enterprise are some of the larger, nationally-run companies that offer this service. There are also a number of city-sponsored car sharing programs too. Take PhillyCarShare in Philadelphia, PA, eGoShare in Boulder, CO, Mint in New York City, or FunRide in San Louis Obispo, CA. They all follow the same basic rules and standards and are quickly gaining in popularity as more and more people realize the benefits of car sharing.

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