Surprise: Car Sharing Helps the Environment

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News flash: Carsharing has a positive effect on our environment.

The University of California, Berkeley Transportation Sustainability Research Center teamed up with car-sharing service car2go to poll the service's users about whether car2go has changed their driving habits. Specifically, did it prompt them to get rid of a car?

A survey of 9,500 motorists in Calgary, San Diego, Seattle, Vancouver, and Washington, D.C. discovered that each car2go vehicle in a city removes seven to 11 personal cars from the region's roads.

In total, car2go took an estimated 28,000-plus vehicles off the road and reduced parking demand between 2014 and 2015, the study says. That amounts to an average 11 percent cutback in vehicle miles traveled and about 10 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

"Our exhaustive, three-year research effort into one-way carsharing reveals that car2go vehicles result in fewer privately owned vehicles on the road, fewer vehicle miles traveled and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions," Susan Shaheen, co-director of the TSRC, said in a statement.

Car2go, a Daimler subsidiary, lets users find and unlock nearby vehicles using its app; users are charged $0.41 per minute, $14.99 per hour, and $84.99 per day—plus taxes and fees, and $0.45 per mile once you hit 150 miles. But unlike Zipcar, you don't have to return a vehicle to the same location from which you picked it up. So you could pick up a car2go in you neighborhood and drop it off near your office.

"TSRC's findings make it clear that one-way carsharing has a significant and beneficial impact in reducing private vehicle miles traveled and emissions in cities, ultimately helping more people get where they want to go more efficiently while helping to reduce traffic and parking congestion," DeLong added.

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