Thursday, May 3, 2007

Car Sharing: Would it work for you?

John and Queercents writes a useful article about the benefits of car sharing programs.

Those who don't live in a city might not know what this is all about. Basically joy join a service that allows you to rent a car by the hour or more and you pay according to how much you use it. The price includes gas, mileage and insurance and is much easier and cheaper than owning a car in most cities (John has a much better, much more in depth description on his post.).

Personally, while I think these services are useful and much better than owning a car, I don't think they're worth it. Having lived in a city for the last 4 years, I looked into joining Flexcar but decided against it. I ran the numbers and for me, it was too expensive unless I was using the car for 2 hours or less. I can easily rent a car for a full 24 hours through priceline and it will only cost me $25 or so. I probably do this once a month, if that often, and I just save up all the errands that require wheels to perform.

The only times I really wish I had a car for a short time is when I'm grocery shopping. But even with that, if I'm doing a small shop I just use my shopping cart and if I'm doing a monster shop I use peapod or similar. Their delivery charge is less than a car service would be for the time it takes to shop and I find that I spend less because I don't have impulse buys.

They are a great idea though and much better than owning a car in a city. They just aren't the best idea for me.