Car sharing has become increasingly popular, and it’s easy to see why.
It is an alternative to owning and operating your vehicle, and it offers several benefits compared to private ownership.
Car sharing offers convenience and flexibility that’s not possible with car ownership.
It also allows you to rent a car without signing long-term contracts or buying the vehicle outright.
Many car sharing services also offer insurance coverage.
If you are looking into ways to save money on your car expenses or are trying to minimize your environmental impact, then you should consider using car sharing services.
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What Are Car Sharing Apps?
Car sharing refers to a service that allows people to rent cars for short periods.
Users can use a smartphone app or website to locate and unlock vehicles parked nearby.
These services are beneficial for urban dwellers who don’t own a car but need one occasionally.
Car sharing also has environmental benefits because it reduces vehicle emissions by including electric vehicles and reduces traffic congestion by allowing more people to share fewer cars.
Some major cities have implemented car sharing programs, including St. Louis, Los Angeles, Denver, Minneapolis, and Boston.
How Do Car Sharing Apps Work?
The first step in using a car sharing app is usually creating an account and choosing a payment plan.
You can link the account you make to your debit card.
You’ll select which vehicle you want to rent.
Depending on which service you use, there may be different options for how long you want to rent each vehicle (e.g., hourly, daily, or weekly).
You’ll also enter information about where and when you need a car so that it will be ready when needed.
After that, your car sharing issued card or smartphone app will unlock your rental.
Depending on which company you use, there might be additional fees associated with late returns or cancellations.
Once done with your rental period, return it to its original or designated location.
Car Sharing vs. Car Rental
If you are looking at car sharing and car rental as viable transportation options, there are a few things that you should know.
While both services offer similar benefits, there are also some critical differences between them.
Car sharing and car rental share several similarities.
Both services are designed for short-term use.
Secondly, car sharing and car rental services allow you to rent a vehicle by paying a membership fee or hourly rate and require a credit card or debit card for payment.
Depending on your needs, the differences between car sharing and car rental services may make one more appealing than another.
For example, car sharing is in demand.
You don’t have to schedule a pick-up time in advance, which can be convenient if you need a ride at short notice.
Another critical difference between car sharing and car rental is availability.
Car rentals offer a standardized fleet of vehicles, while car sharing organizations often provide unique peer-to-peer vehicle options from private car owners connecting you via the app.
What Are Car Sharing Apps Available?
The most popular car sharing apps include Zipcar, Car2Go, and Turo.
They all offer different packages, rates, and subscription plans depending on your needs.
Zipcar is a leading car sharing service that helps members save money while giving them access to a fleet of more than 10,000 vehicles located in about 500 cities.
By reserving cars online or using the Zipcar mobile app, members can easily book a car when they need it and return it to any designated parking spot within an established radius.
How Zipcar Works
You must first join as a valid driver’s license member to use Zipcar.
Once approved, create an account and link it with your credit card information.
Zipcar allows members to rent cars by the hour or day.
To unlock and lock vehicles during your trip, use the Zipcar car sharing app or your Zipcard issued by the company.
Where Zipcar is Available
Zipcars are available in most major cities throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Costa Rica, and Iceland.
Typically they’re in high-traffic areas within neighborhoods, campuses, and airports.
How Much Does Zipcar Cost?
Zipcar has different offerings for customers depending on their needs.
They include economy, SUVs, and luxury cars.
Prices start at $11, $12 and $17 respectively.
In addition, Zipcar offers membership plans with discounted rates per hour or day.
Using membership plans has several perks, including Maintenance and 24/7 roadside assistance, free gas, and secondary insurance coverage.
Turo is a car sharing service that allows you to rent other people’s cars for an affordable price.
You can find almost any type of vehicle on their site, including everything from convertibles and trucks to luxury cars and motorcycles.
How Turo Works
The Turo app makes everything convenient and straightforward.
It allows you to locate vehicles nearby or filter options based on price, make/model, and fuel type.
Once you’ve found a suitable match, tap book now and confirm your reservation within minutes.
You pick a vehicle from an available fleet, which is booked and owned by other individuals in your community, and drive it for an agreed-upon time.
When done with your trip, drop off the car at its original location.
Where Turo is Available
Turo is available in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
To check if Turo hosts are available in your location, look for a vehicle in the app.
How Much Does Turo Cost?
Turo calculates a rate based on the vehicle’s value, booking date, and location.
The price you pay will also depend on your specific needs, like how long you need to rent.
Car2go, now SHARE NOW, is a car sharing service that allows you to pick up and drop off vehicles at designated parking spots.
How Car2Go Works
To use Car2Go, you must download its app onto your smartphone and create an account with your credit card information.
The app will allow you to see where all of its cars are located on a map to plan your route accordingly.
Once you have found a vehicle that works for your needs, unlock it using your smartphone app and drive away.
Where Car2Go is Available
This service is available in select cities across North America, including Austin, Texas, San Diego, Washington, Portland, and Miami.
The company also offers similar services in European countries, including Germany, Canada, Austria, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Italy.
See the complete list of Turo locations here.
How Much Does Car2Go Cost?
The vehicle you choose and the number of miles you travel may influence the final cost.
Rates vary by city but range from $15.99 per hour to a $69.99 flat rate plus 19 cents per mile.
4. GIG Car Share
GIG Car Share is the first collaborative consumption platform that enables users to rent cars with just an hour of notice and without booking in advance while allowing renters to save more on rental costs than traditional car rental companies.
How GIG Car Share Works
To use GIG, you need to download its app on your mobile device.
Scan your driving license, take a selfie and submit your credit or debit card information.
Once approved, use the app
to search for available cars nearby and book up to 30 minutes in advance.
A green windshield indicates that a car is available.
Use your smartphone with Bluetooth enabled or the Gig Card to unlock your designated car.
Where GIG Car Share is Available
Find their vehicles in major US cities.
These include San Francisco and Seattle in high-demand areas such as airports, universities, residential neighborhoods, and downtown cores.
The cars are parked at designated curbside locations in these neighborhoods or off-street parking lots and are accessible via the app.
How Much Does GIG Car Share Cost?
Rates vary based on your trip and a temporary fuel surcharge of 2%.
Prepaid plans help you save on Gig rentals.
You get to pay as low as $52.99/day to $64/day.
HyreCar is a company that connects people who need cars to people who own vehicles and want extra income.
They are an app-based car sharing service that allows users to rent out their vehicles when they’re not using them.
Car owners set their rates for renting out their vehicles, and renters get access to affordable transportation.
How HyreCar Works
Create a HyreCar driver account using your email address or download the HyreCar Driver app.
You select your location and check for available cars.
If you like one, you can book it online or through the smartphone app, confirm the booking and agree to a quick background check.
Once approved, you can contact the car owner to set up a pick-up time and location.
Where HyreCar is Available
HyreCar is available in all 50 states across the United States.
Cities hosting Hyrecar services include Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, and Dallas/Fort Worth.
How Much Does HyreCar Cost?
HyreCar differs from most car sharing services in that it allows vehicle owners to set their rates.
Some choose to charge a flat rate per hour, while others charge by distance.
Car owners on the platform also offer daily and weekly plans for those who want to rent cars for more extended periods.
Getaround, one of the first peer-to-peer car sharing services globally, was launched in San Francisco in 2009 and has since expanded across the United States.
The service connects people who want to rent their cars with people who need rides by the hour or day or choose to rent by the week.
How Getaround Works
Download the Getaround app and sign up for an account without membership fees.
Once you upload your driver’s license, the verification process completes instantly.
Once approved, you can book your vehicle on demand.
Then, using the Getaround app on your phone, you can pick up your car at a lot and unlock it.
Where Getaround is Available
Getaround connects you with local car owners across US states and cities.
For instance, you can access Getaround services in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and New Orleans.
How Much Does Getaround Cost?
You pay depending on your location and how long you’re renting.
Getaround sets automatic hourly rate pricing for each vehicle, although car owners still have the option of modifying the prices.
7. Enterprise CarShare
Enterprise car sharing allows individuals and businesses to rent cars by the hour, day, or week.
Members have access to an extensive fleet of vehicles, including sedans, vans, and even limousines.
Typical rental hours are as short as 1 hour up to months, depending on your needs.
How Enterprise CarShare Works
Once approved, Enterprise sends you a membership card via mail required to access their vehicles.
Users reserve an Enterprise car through an Enterprise app or a website.
Where Enterprise CarShare is Available
Enterprise has more than 50 fully staffed offices in the US and Canada.
The company is available in around 7500 locations across about 85 countries worldwide and manages approximately 2 million vehicles.
How Much Does Enterprise CarShare Cost?
Enterprise charges them based on usage, as low as $9.50/hour or $49.99/day.
Are Car Sharing Apps Worth It?
These services have advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to consider your needs before deciding whether or not you want to join one of these apps.
- You save money by car sharing
- Car Sharing helps reduce your carbon footprint
- Car sharing relieves parking space
- Reduces the number of cars in metropolitan areas hence easing traffic
- Compared to car rentals, car sharing apps have fewer restrictions
- Car sharing can be expensive if you have to drive often or have a long-distance on your commute.
- Car sharing services may not be convenient if you live far from pick-up and drop-off locations.
Car sharing is a great way to save money and reduce your carbon footprint.
Multiple vehicle classes are available depending on your needs, such as cars, vans, trucks, and even limousines.
If you regularly need a vehicle but owning one isn’t a viable option, car sharing is worth considering.