Although the price of gasoline rises and falls, it's remained constantly high in the past few years. Paying upwards of $3 per gallon can be taxing on your monthly budget. And if you factor in other car-related expenses such as oil changes, major repairs and of course monthly payments, owning a vehicle can be very expensive.
According to a study by the American Public Transportation Association, you could save around $10,000 a year by getting rid of your car. The study found that consumers who ditched their vehicles saved an average of $848 a month—or $10,176 per year. In some places, the amount was even higher. According to APTA, New York residents could save an impressive $15,041 every year.
While having your own vehicle is certainly convenient, the energy and money savings of ditching it might be too enticing to ignore. In just one year, you could treat your family to a nice vacation, invest extra money in your retirement or trick out your home with the latest gadgets. Plus, there are a lot of cheap, eco-friendly alternatives to get you from point A to point B. You can hop on public transportation, invest in a bicycle or start walking. But one of the most convenient options is a car share program.
Car sharing programs: What are your options
Bike share programs have been popping up in major cities across the world, but now car sharing programs are making their debut. These programs take the financial burden of car ownership from you, all the while offering you an arsenal of vehicles to choose from. You simply reserve the type of vehicle you need, pick it up and drive. Take a look at some of the available options.
Zipcar is a car sharing service that's available in major cities within 38 states—mostly around the East and West coasts—as well as Washington, D.C. Its plans start at just $6 per month with driving rates as low as $8 per hour. Every plan covers the cost of gas, insurance and up to 180 miles per day. The rate you pay Zipcar is all that has to come out of your pocket. You don't have to pay for repairs, tires, maintenance or even fuel.
If you don't need a car often, this can be an affordable way to get around. And even if you need a car on a more regular basis, the company offers extra value plans that can make the program more affordable for you. Zipcar's extra value plans start at $50, which includes six prepaid hours of driving and its membership fee.
Enterprise is a well-known car rental company so it's only natural that the company has branched out into car sharing. Its program is only available in Washington, D.C., and a few major cities within 18 states including Texas, Colorado and Missouri. However, it's widely available at dozens of universities across the nation.
In some states, Enterprise offers a pay-as-you-go option, but in most cases you'll have to pay an annual membership fee, which ranges from $25 to $50 depending on where you live. Its hourly rates start at about $8 per hour on weekdays and $9 per hour on weekends. Every time you borrow a car from Enterprise's car share program, you'll only pay the fee per hour. Enterprise covers gas, insurance and 200 miles for free.