A while back I wrote a post about joining the car sharing community. I was pretty excited about trying a new way of getting around San Francisco. But I also really missed some things that came with car ownership (freedom, spontaneity, taking my dog in the car with me).
After a year of doing the car-sharing thing, I ended up hating it. It just wasn’t for me. Car sharing may be a game-changer for the right person, but that's definitely not me.
Fortunately, I got a car thanks to my Mom, who gifted me her 3 year-old Honda so that she could get some new wheels. She shipped the car to me across the country on a flatbed truck. So, yes, I now have a new-to-me car with just 20,000 miles that was literally owned by a little old lady.
I’m lucky that it’s costing me about the same to have a vehicle as what I was paying per month for the car sharing (about $350 a month). That’s mostly because there are no car payments. Of course, I still have to pay $275 for a monthly garage, gas, routine maintenance, and insurance. Although, I recently cut my my annual insurance costs in half by moving to the pay per-mile provider Metromile.
There many benefits to car sharing including saving on car payments, monthly parking, maintenance, car insurance, gas, parking meters, and tickets, etc. Not to mention reducing your carbon footprint. And even though, car sharing wasn’t for me, I still think it can work well for some people.
However, before taking the plunge, be sure to consider not only the potential savings, but your individual lifestyle.
Car sharing considerations
- How much you drive
- How far you drive
- Why you drive (errands, occasional business meetings, meeting up with friends, just for the fun of it)
- How spontaneous you are with planning trips
- If you have a pet
- How conveniently located the cars are to your home
Only once you take a long, hard look at how and why you plan to use a car sharing program can you truly determine if it’s the right move for you.