Culture & Entertainment

Why own a car when you can share one?

Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Why own a car when you can share one?

Owning a car isn't cheap – and with the rising price of gas, it certainly isn't getting any cheaper. And when it comes to your ecological footprint, the less driving you do, the better. But no matter how good your public transit system, there's no denying that having a car around when you need one is rather handy. One solution? Instead of owning your own car, join a car-sharing program and pay as you go. There's a number of car-sharing programs across the country (visit carsharing.ca for some options); one big one is Zipcar, currently available in Toronto and Vancouver as well as many U.S. cities. I spoke with Michael Lende, general manager of Zipcar Toronto, about the benefits of car-sharing and what he loves about Zipcar. Q: What makes being a Zipcar member better than owning a car? A: I can tell you firsthand - I have a wife and two kids and we had two vehicles and I gave up one when I joined Zipcar. I'm saving $900 a month. The average Zipster saves between $400 and $600 a month by giving up a vehicle. There's a huge financial benefit, and the byproduct of that is it's a much greener way to go. For every Zipcar we put on the road, 15 vehicles come off the road. We've been responsible for over 3,500 personal vehicles coming off the road in Toronto. Q: What kinds of cars do you offer? A: We have over 20 different makes and models. We have hybrids, Minis, Jettas, some fun cars too – Mustang convertibles, Audis and BMWs, even Tacoma pickups for people who need to move items. Q: You're only in Vancouver and Toronto right now – what plans are there to expand to other Canadian cities? A: I think down the line you'll see future major Canadian cities opening up. And currently if you're a member you can use a Zipcar in any Zipcar city in North America: New York, Seattle, wherever you want to go. It's definitely a benefit, especially with the high cost of fuel. Q: What's the best thing about Zipcar? A: The one thing I really love is that we're able to provide a viable business that is doing something wonderful for the environment while still giving people the convenience and savings to cut back on expenses and enjoy the freedom of getting around. Visit zipcar.com for more information on Zipcar services. Read more: • 10 ways to save money on gasWhy hybrids are the way to driveHow to make your vacations greener
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Why own a car when you can share one?

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