Car sharing

No money to buy a car? Be glad, because without a car you have fewer problems. You could try car sharing instead. Car sharing is a global trend and it can be a pretty good option besides public transport or even hitchhiking. Car sharing is a relatively good solution for saving money. Sharing a car without money is only possible if you're driving a sponsored car or if you have a friend who lets you use their car.

The principle of car sharing

With car sharing you always have a car at your disposition, mostly without the costs. It's especially popular in bigger cities. There are many providers, in the Netherlands there are for example Greenwheels and Diks Autodate. It's common to pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee plus an hourly fee for actual use. Sharing cars can allow you to save a lot of money. You mostly won't pay parking costs and you don't have to pay car insurance, taxes and for maintenance. Above all you'll always have a car at your disposal without buying one.

Car sharing and self organization

You can also set up your own car sharing with neighbors and people in your neighborhood. Buy a car together with others. Or you can rent out your own car to your neighbors. There are also some companies that facilitate this such as Snappcar and MyWheels. Especially MyWheels is well known in the Netherlands, so much it can be considered the trendsetter in the field.

MyWheels started as a spontaneous initiative in the the nineties.

Mywheels was started in 1993, when I wanted to share 1 car with 3 neighbors. After 10 years we had 6 cars and 40 participants and we turned it into an organization with the goal to share both cars as well as profit. source

Pros of car sharing

  • You can save a lot of money. You don't have to pay parking costs. No insurance or taxes or car maintenance.
  • It's much more sustainable: fewer cars need to be produced and it takes less parking space
  • More flexibility. Some shared cars don't have to be returned to the pick up spot.
  • Car sharing makes car use affordable for people who only use cars incidentally, such as students, city dwellers, people who mostly travel by public transport and tourists.

Cons of car sharing

  • Drop off spots are unlikely to be next to your house. You'll probably have to walk (or bike) a bit to get to your car. Same when returning home.
  • Obviously there won't be many luxury cars available as shared cars, but you can still rent those if there's an occasion.
  • When going for a longer distance trip car sharing can be more expensive than a rental car.
  • Make sure that the company is reliable. Are they reachable when you have a problem with your car? Try to call them on a Friday night before signing up.

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Further reading

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