Lifestyle Benefits of Car Sharing

August 29, 2019

A number of new automotive trends are completely disrupting the transportation industry across Canada.

While it’s taken some time and is still fundamentally based within a highly-regulated environment, when Uber came to Canada, it was the first initial shift in car ownership across the country. As with any great market disruption, there must be innovation, agility and a willingness to evolve.

Uber’s rival Lyft didn’t trail far behind, quickly swooping in to expand throughout Canada. Today, innovative industry leaders like Elon Musk, the head of Tesla, are bringing in new consumer options in lieu of car ownership. But what consumer option is available that maximizes cost, takes in environmental factors and gives you freedom on-demand?

Meet car sharing –the alternative to car ownership that’s growing in popularity in cities across Canada. It’s both economical and environmentally-mindful.

What is car sharing?

Car sharing is a peer-to-peer model that allows you to rent a vehicle instantly when you need it, for as long as you need it. Beyond exploring the idea of more environmentally-friendly and economical forms of transportation, many converting consumers could even see enhanced lifestyle benefits. Here are a few car-sharing benefits to keep in mind.

You’ll save money

The reality is, car ownership is expensive.

In fact, according to a survey facilitated by Canadian-based market research firm Angus Reid Global, our cars sit unused 96% of the time.

Statistics Canada’s further validates this point in the Survey of Household Spending, 2016 — when their data revealed that people still very much need some form of transportation to get around, and a large part of their incomes are spent on it.

On an annual basis, “Canadian households spent an average of $11,909 on transportation in 2016. The largest portion ($10,660) went toward private transportation, which includes spending on the purchase of cars, trucks and vans, as well as their operating costs.”

Car owners can also often forget to take into account the cost of asset depreciation, which can nearly double the cost of ownership.

In the United States, online vehicle search engine, iSeeCars facilitated an extensive study to determine the depreciation rate of different vehicles. Their data showed the average five-year depreciation rate of vehicles in the U.S. is around 50.2 percent of their initial value.

Car sharing cuts costs by paying for a vehicle only when you need it, not while it sits in the driveway.

It’s environmentally-friendly

As Canadians and organizations across the country are proudly taking meaningful steps towards reducing our carbon footprint, car sharing means that there’s a reduced number of vehicles on the road.  To drive the environmental and economic impacts even further, fewer cars on the road also means there’s less demand for our limited natural resources like gas and oil. Infrastructure in our cities would improve because there would be less of a need for road expansions or additional parking lots.

Clearly, it’s easy to spot the environmental benefits that impact not just our world, but our communities too. Simply put, our cities (and Canadians) could be healthier, and “more green” with sustainability-based initiatives like car sharing.

How car sharing works

Depending on which car-sharing company you use, you’ll usually pay an annual membership fee and/or a one-time reservation fee.

However, with some car-sharing apps like Communauto, there’s no membership fee. Even better, gas, maintenance and insurance are all included. This way you can reserve a car when you need it from the closest pick-up location to you.

While car-sharing hasn’t been completely rolled out in every province, more and more companies are vying for the scene. As of 2019, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec are the current Canadian cities where ride-sharing and car-sharing apps are mostly available. For Toronto, when Montreal-based Communauto expanded to the city, it was the first free-floating car service approved in a city pilot. In turn, it will be sharing its consumer data with provincial regulators who will be better able to assess market demand.


Car share programs and insurance

The technology industry isn’t the only one who thinks car sharing is important. Insurance as an industry has taken note, in an effort to support rising demand for more consumer options. Most car-sharing programs come with insurance while you’re driving the car. Ontario and Alberta, in particular, are facing challenging car insurance rates right now. And by ditching your personal car for carsharing you can experience great savings on insurance.

While there’s a number of automotive trends and technology surfacing to the scene, the cost of car ownership (coupled with its negative environmental impacts), makes car sharing the next transformative automotive industry disruptor.

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