Lend Me Your Gears
Car sharing slowly but surely taking off in cities worldwide
Car sharing is gradually gaining ground around the globe, and the future looks bright for a concept once derided as a green fever dream. About 300,000 people worldwide now participate in car sharing; it’s taken off especially well in European nations like Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, where the largest company has 2,400 cars and 60,000 members (compared to a total of roughly 1,000 shared cars in the U.S.). New technologies like online car booking are making it easier for companies to manage larger numbers of vehicles and for customers to sign up to use them. Even big-biz players like Hertz and Shell have begun dipping their toes in the water, suggesting potential for future growth and profitability. Studies indicate that car-sharing services reduce overall traffic and pollution: One shared car can replace 4 to 10 cars as folks retire older vehicles, with a net 30 to 45 percent decrease in miles driven per customer.