Car sharing services have taken off exponentially the world over in the past few years, with options ranging from ZipCar to RelayRides. These operate in slightly different ways. Some, like Uber or Lyft, work by allowing motorists to drive other passengers around the city for an informal taxi ride. Others, like RelayRides, allow car owners to rent out their car to other motorists. Finally, services like ZipCar allow motorists in cities to gain access to a private car when and where they need it, such as running errands. With the cost of car ownership so high, services like these can be quite appealing as alternatives to making a purchase. Yet there are advantages and disadvantages to consider first.

Advantages

One of the primary benefits of using ride sharing services is that you save the cost of car ownership. You don’t have to worry about your car being stolen or broken into, or pay the cost of car insurance and fuel each month. For those who don’t drive too often, it makes sense to only pay for a car when they need it. Ride sharing services are also popular among people who are interested in reducing their impact on the environment. Carpooling leads to fewer cars on the road, which equals fewer carbon emissions.

Families may be drawn to ride sharing services to avoid the cost of a second car. Saving that second car payment leaves families with more money to put towards retirement or a down payment for a house. At the same time, if someone wants to run errands and the primary family car is in use, they can simply hire a ride share vehicle for that big grocery trip or to attend a meeting on time.

Disadvantages

While there are many benefits associated with ride sharing services, there are also a few issues to consider. For those interested in renting out their vehicle using RelayRides or a similar service, liability can be an issue. If there’s an accident in your car, you may be held liable for it. You may need to take out additional insurance to cover this possibility. Another disadvantage is that there’s no guarantee you will be able to find a car when you need one. It can be hard to find available ride share vehicles on rainy days or during rush hour, for example. It’s harder to make spontaneous trips using ride share services like ZipCar. Instead, you need to plan ahead a little bit to make use of this type of service. If no cars are available, you may be stuck with a high taxi fee.

Overall, there are numerous advantages to ride sharing as well as a few drawbacks. If you’re dedicated to a greener lifestyle but still want to have instant access to a car for regular use, you could look at electric options like this Holden Volt at Carsales. On the other hand, if you’re only an occasional driver and live in an urban area, a ride sharing service may be the perfect solution.

Filed under: Saving Money

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