The car-sharing model is one that’s growing rapidly in many countries, and reflects a shift in the way that people are using their cars. In recent years, the increase in car ownership has slowed in Australia, and the distance we drive in each vehicle has begun to decline. Meanwhile, public transport usage is on the rise.
Car sharing is a key player in greening cities, reducing congestion and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Operators of the scheme tend to purchase energy-efficient vehicles – as petrol is included in the cost of the hire, there is an added incentive to run the cars as cheaply and efficiently as possible.
Research by consultants Frost and Sullivan in the US found that in 2009, every shared car replaced 15 private cars, and car sharing members drove almost one-third less than they would if they owned a vehicle. Widespread growth of these schemes would mean fewer cars, used more efficiently.
Car sharing company GoGet says that the penetration of their ownership in Sydney’s Surry Hills has now reached 2 in every 10 license holders. The company is increasingly providing shared utility vehicles at residential developments, working with councils and developers to reduce the minimum parking requirements through the provision of access to a shared vehicle.