According to a recent study conducted by Zipcar, members of the Millennial generation would rather give up their cars than their mobile phones or computers. Thanks in part to a recent migration of college-educated adults back into dense urban cores, the fetishizing of car ownership (and, indeed, the logistical sense of car ownership) has decreased dramatically.
Commuting solutions for tomorrow’s leaders are almost certainly transit-oriented, but even enthusiastic Millennials recognize the need to get behind the wheel once in awhile. This begs the question: What will happen when young people begin having families? Will attributes of suburban living (like car ownership) become necessary again? For many urbanites and environmentalists, the future of driving may lie in city carshare services.
What is a City Carshare?
Carsharing plays off the idea that people need to use cars–but they don’t necessarily need to own them. Carsharing can be done in a variety of ways, but most mainstream companies operate on a monthly or annual basis. Zipcar, one of the nation’s largest carsharing companies, operates on a very casual basis. After members enroll and pay their membership fees, they can reserve cars for specific dates and times. This can be done by simply opening an app on one’s phone. Within minutes, the user can walk to the company’s nearest location, unlock a car with their membership card and essentially cruise off into the sunset. The cost of gas and insurance are incorporated into membership fees.
What are the Benefits of Carsharing?
Many carsharers find that they enjoy the sense of flexibility that comes with using, but not owning, a car. Carsharerers aren’t tied down to maintenance, loan and insurance payments, freeing their budgets up for more important things. Another benefit? Certain companies even specialize in luxury automobiles, so you can enjoy cruising around in that Ferrari you always wanted but probably would never have been able to afford.
Carsharing is also great for the environment, because it encourages people to live car-minimal lifestyles. Cars and transportation account for a huge proportion of carbon emissions, something that many of us are becoming increasingly concerned about. Estimates show that for every car shared, eight individually owned cars can be taken off the roads, helping to reduce traffic congestion and discourage wasteful ownership practices.
In short, carsharing is helping to shift the automobile industry from wasteful to innovative. Cars are one of the few large purchases we make that usually require interest payments but do not appreciate in value–one of the many reasons why Millennials are choosing to share rather than own.
Would you consider carsharing over owning?