The number of people choosing to buy a car has declined slightly since the peak of car ownership in 2001, but 95 percent of Americans still own a car. Studies show, however, that this high percentage of ownership does not equal high usage. According to transportation adviser Paul Barter, cars are actually parked 95 percent of the time. In other words, most Americans have a car, but just don’t use them very much.
This leads to an immense amount of waste — of money, of space, etc. There has to be a better solution that satisfies the relatively infrequent transport needs that owning a car satisfies, without the unfavorable byproducts. This is why we created Turo, a win-win carsharing service and marketplace where people can safely and securely rent cars from one another. And it appears that we’re onto something; experts agree that a shift away from mass car ownership towards carsharing would come with a number of economic, environmental, and consumer benefits, and is likely inevitable.
In case you aren’t bought in yet, we’ve curated a list of the top advantages to peer-to-peer carsharing services.
Improve the Environment and Efficiencies
Undoubtedly, carsharing translates to a lesser amount of cars overall. Some studies estimate that carsharing removes between 4.6 and 20 cars per shared vehicle from the road.
Less cars, of course, means less traffic congestion, which is a real problem that causes increased travel time, air pollution, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and fuel use because cars cannot run efficiently. Less cars also means reducing fuel consumption and emissions of air pollution and greenhouse gases overall, all of which, as climate scientists agree, are causing global warming. In fact, a UCLA study showed that relying solely on one carsharing service (instead of driving a personally-owned car) decreased CO2 emissions by 92.7 percent.
There’s also the issue of space. Urban architecture is still centered around the ubiquity of vehicles, and reducing the amount of cars on the road would (and will) reduce wasted space, namely in the form of parking. Parking may not seem like a big issue, but its economic and sociological impacts are enormous. According to Bloomberg Business, “car-centric cities forfeit more than a thousand dollars per parking space per year in potential municipal revenues by using land for parking rather than more lucrative alternatives. […] Minimum parking requirements [also] inhibit development and exacerbate traffic by placing incentives on car use rather than on walking and cycling.” And this is just the tip of that iceberg.
Ultimately, cars take up more space than any other form of transportation. As Norman Garrick, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Connecticut, states, “For each person, a car takes up 10 times more space than a bike, 15 times more than a train, and 30 times more than a pedestrian. Space equals money in one way or the other.” Carsharing’s impact on parking would help make cities more dense, more efficient, and more liveable.
We’re big believers in choosing your own adventure, and carsharing lets you do just that. With a service like Turo specifically, you can choose a car that fits your specific trip and budget (a hatchback, a pickup truck, a luxury car), even if that trip is simply moving your belongings from your old apartment to a new one. And, you can book a car from home or on your smartphone, whenever you need it, no matter where you are.
Save (And Make) Money
Because it’s based on the shared economy model, carsharing saves money in a number of ways, including those already mentioned above. First of all, carsharing consumers only pay for what they use; they don’t have to worry about maintenance, parking, or insurance expenses. Turo is a particularly budget-friendly option with rates that are up to 30 percent less than traditional agencies.
As for the car owners who rent out their vehicles, they’re bringing in extra income every time someone rents their car. For example, a $12,000 car that is rented for 10 days per month can bring in an extra $3,265 per year.
While some may argue that increased wear will lead to shorter lifespans for each car, a lot of a vehicle’s wear and tear (such as corrosion) actually happens when the car isn’t in use.
Perhaps best of all, carsharing brings people together. Study after study has found that making connections, acts of kindness and generosity (like sharing), and life experiences (as opposed to material purchases) all contribute to long-term happiness. The sharing economy as a whole is built on the desire to not only save people money and help the planet, but to improve people’s lives by building a sense of community and encouraging more diversified life experiences.
UC Berkeley - Carsharing
Fortune - Today’s Cars Are Parked 95% of the Time
US Dept of State - Does Everyone in America Own a Car? Sustainable Cities Institute - Car Sharing
UCLA Environment - Uber vs Car Ownership
Bloomberg - American Cities Are Haunted by Too Many Parking Spaces
Harvard Gazette - Decoding Keys to a Healthy Life
Berkeley Greater Good - Kindness Makes You Happy
Fast Co. Exist - The Science Of Why You Should Spend Your Money On Experiences, Not Things