You Might Not Need to Own a Car
In a report with the (long) title of Car-sharing: a Sustainable and Innovative Personal Transport Solution, with Great Potential and Huge Opportunities, the analysts at Frost & Sullivan paint a pretty encouraging picture of the car-sharing industry. They claim that the global economic problems of the past couple years helped increase attention to car-sharing as a way to reduce transportation costs. Just in America, car-sharing membership rose by 117% between 2007 and 2009.
Image: Frost & Sullivan
The chart above shows the projected growth of car-sharing in North-America and Europe over the next few years. According to these numbers, in 2016 there should be about 4.4 million members in North America and 5.5 million in Europe.
The environmental benefits of car-sharing are non-negligible:
The two major social benefits of carsharing are fewer vehicles on the road and lower emissions. Research from Frost & Sullivan estimates that, on average, each shared vehicle replaced 15 personally owned vehicles in 2009 and carsharing members drove 31% less than when they owned a personal vehicle. These two factors translate into 482,170 fewer tons of CO2 emissions and less travel congestion in urban areas.
Even bigger reductions in emissions (both smog-forming and greenhouse gas) will be possible once car-sharing services start incorporating more electric vehicles in their fleets (EV technology will have to get better and prices to come down, but it's only a matter of time).
F&S; also found that the economic benefits of car-sharing were substantial: "Frost & Sullivan research shows that an average car owner who drives 12,000 miles a year at an average driving speed of 30 miles per hour can save US$ 1,834 by shifting to a carsharing service. Commuters who drive less than 12,000 miles can save more."
Via Frost & Sullivan, Earth2Tech
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