By TreeLiving Staff What do most cars do all day? The answer is that they sit around doing nothing, waiting for their owners/drivers to get back. That’s harmless enough – at least a parked car isn’t guzzling gas and spewing out carbon emissions and toxic chemicals that are bad for the environment. So what does car sharing offer? The fact remains that millions of cars are manufactured each year, using ton s of non-renewable resources, when we could get by with a lot fewer. Car sharing is a creative and green answer to this issue. It won’t work for everyone, but for some it’s an economical, eco-friendly and convenient solution – and for extra green points you could get to drive eco cars, too! How does car sharing work? It’s quite simple. Car sharing operators have designated parking spaces in the area, where you pick up and drop off the car. You reserve its use, online or by phone. You pay a membership fee, and all you have to do is find your car, unlock it with your membership card and off you go! Charges may be either per hour or per mile on top of the basic membership fee, and that includes gas and insurance. Larger operators offer different schemes, and different cars, depending on whether you want to move furniture or just get from A to B. If your motivation for car sharing is to cut down on your carbon footprint, then eco cars may be available, so your conscience will be clean. It won’t be long before you have the option of electric cars or plug-in hybrid eco cars. Car sharing works best in more densely populated areas, where there will be plenty of users, vehicles and pick- up or drop off spots. It’s ideal for people who need to use a car for occasional journeys, rather than daily commuting to work or the school run. On the green front, car sharing schemes help cut down on unnecessary travel. Car owners are likely to use the car because it’s there, so you might as well make the most of the money you pay for the privilege. Car sharing members won’t use the car on a whim and will maximize their use, combining journeys and planning so that they don’t do three journeys when one would be sufficient. If there’s a car sharing scheme where you are, it could be a real option. You will certainly save money, since you won’t be paying the hefty insurance charges and won’t have to worry about maintenance and servicing bills. Also, you won’t be losing money while you car depreciates in value. Both saving and contributing to reducing human impact on our fragile planet is really a winning combination.

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