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Car Sharing Takes Off
CNBC.com | December 04, 2009 | 02:23 PM EST

Consumers, businesses and universities looking to cut transportation costs are ditching car ownership for car sharing.

Several new companies have popped up in the past year, as car sharing has become more mainstream, heating up competition with current market leader Zipcar, which has some 350,000 members.

Between 2007 and 2008, car sharing membership increased 51.5 percent in the United States, according to Susan Shaheen, researcher and co-director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

“It’s still growing,” Shaheen added, “I don’t see this slowing down.”

New entrants to the field include car rental companies Hertz and Enterprise; and more recently from automaker Daimler.

"It’s another validation of what we’ve been saying for a while," says Scott Griffith, chairman and CEO of Zipcar. "We’ve been seeing the growth of this category and that is what's driving these new entrants."

Car sharing gives consumers access to a car whenever they want without having to deal with the responsibility of owning or renting one. Most services are found in larger cities, where most residents use public transportation.

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