Car-Sharing in Your Community

Cars are an extremely convenient and necessary commodity in today's world. However, they are also a major cause of air pollution and global warming, releasing toxins which are detrimental to the environment and human health. So, it makes sense to limit your driving by walking, riding a bike, or using public transportation. But we all know that in today's world, there are times when only a car will do. One option for those times is car sharing.

Car sharing is a service that is usually run by universities, businesses, or local communities, allowing members over 21 years of age to rent cars, by half-hour to one-hour increments, instead of owning their own vehicles. Members can pick up their automobiles during at a pre-designated time from a parking spot located in walking distance from their homes or places of work.

Car sharing can help you save money on gas, parking tickets, fines and repairs. Cars are opened with a card key and users are charged on an hourly basis, with rates from $7 to $10 per hour. This fee includes gasoline, insurance, maintenance and cleaning costs. Members are also charged annually for an additional maintenance fee. These fees are significantly less than the costs incurred from a privately owned car. Car-share automobiles are often hybrid vehicles which are very fuel efficient, as well.

One company, Flexcar, runs car-sharing programs in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas. Another company, Zipcar, runs programs in Boston, New York, Chapel Hill, Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. In addition, over 30 Universities such as the University of Wisconsin, the University of Minnesota, the University of Chicago, and Oberlin College have shared cars available to their students and faculty members. For a list of other car-sharing locations, visit Flexcar also has opportunities for people to set up car-sharing programs for businesses and organizations.

Car Sharing is a great way that people can continue to use cars when they really need them, while still protecting our air quality and the environment. Take advantage of this opportunity in your community today!

– Ariella Cohen

Ariella Cohen is a student at Stern College for Women and Canfei Nesharim's spring intern.

Originally posted in "On Eagles' Wings" May 9th 2006

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