Get wheels when you need them, or make money off them when you don’t.
Cars are expensive. They’re expensive to buy, they’re expensive to fuel, insure, and to maintain. If you pay extra for parking at home, then you’re paying to not use your car.
In 2009, the average American spent 18% of their income on transportation. A fifth of that was on gas.
As great as it would be for the environment if everyone biked everywhere sometimes you just need a car. Big grocery trips, taking the pet to the veterinarian, back country hiking and skiing, or driving your child’s class on a field trip. Perhaps you already have a car, but need a truck to move, or a second set of wheels for a special event. There are plenty of occasional reasons why even the staunchest environmentalist might need a car.
A handful of new companies are proving that people don’t need to own a car just to have reliable access to a car. These companies are each promoting “car sharing” as an alternative to car ownership. Many of them are working right here in Contra Costa County.
Getaround let’s people share their private cars, as well as rent private cars that belong to other people.
The person that owns the car determines the hourly rental rate (generally around $5-10 an hour) and the dates and times that the car is available. Getaround takes a percentage to cover insurance. The person that rents the car pays for gas. After the rental, each party can review the other to help future users.
Have a car you don’t use all the time? Share it! If you were planning to stay home all weekend anyway, your car should be off making you a hundred bucks instead of sitting in the driveway. Getaround lets you make money off something you already have, but don’t use 24 hours a day everyday.
RelayRides is similar to Getaround, but offers free gas and emergency roadside assistance. The only catch – you pay more after 160 miles per trip.
Zipcar is a popular service that allows people to rent cars by the hour or day, and gas is free. The cars are serviced and maintained by Zipcar, so you know they’ll be in tippy-top shape.
Using Zipcar is simple. After you registering, you can reserve a car online (or on your smartphone). Using your personal Zipcard, that you receive in the mail after registration, you can get into a Zipcar and drive it anywhere. Bring it back when you’re done. Zipcar pays for the gas.
With a variety of trucks and cars of all sizes, and a growing number of neighborhood locations, Zipcar is a quick an easy option for many people. Rentals start at $7 and hour and $72 a day. There’s no mileage charge.
Their motto says it all: “Wheels when you want them.”