Car sharing has been around in Europe for years, but is just beginning to become popular in the United States. It is a form of car rental, but it differs in that you usually use it for just an hour or two. It’s convenient for people in large cities who have access to public transportation, and therefore don’t own a car. Or, it would also be an alternative for college students who only need a car or truck for moving or buying groceries. It might also be a way for a family to dispense with their second car.
For these people, it’s much cheaper and more practical than owning a car, because you don’t have to pay for parking space, car payments, insurance, gas etc. And, it’s less expensive than a traditional rental because you only pay for the short time you need it.
How it works is that you join and pay a membership fee, usually less than $100 a year. You then are charged an hourly rental fee each time you use a car. Vehicles are often parked in convenient places throughout the city. Once you reserve your car, you unlock it with your personal key, take care of your business, and return it to the same location at the end of your rental period. You don’t have to worry about gas, insurance, or filling out a lot of paperwork.
The best known of the car sharing companies is Zipcar, but there are many others in cities throughout the country. These sites list many of them: http://eartheasy.com/move_car_sharing.html, http://www.carsharing.net/where.html