Can You Live Without a Car?

If you’ve ever been caught in a site visitors jam, sitting immobile behind a diesel-belching truck as cyclists glide previous fortunately within the bike lane, it might have crossed your thoughts that you simply’d be happier dwelling with out a automobile.

But likelihood is, you shortly brushed apart that notion, imagining simply how impractical that might be. After all, the entire fashionable world is virtually constructed round vehicle journey — and with so many locations designed to be accessed by automobile, resides with out one even doable?

The reply to that query is much from easy, because it largely is dependent upon your particular state of affairs: the place you reside, the place you’re employed, and what you do for enjoyable. But the query is price asking — particularly when you’re somebody who’s happier virtually anyplace else than behind the wheel. Going with out a automobile simply is perhaps the important thing to a more healthy, extra frugal, and fewer aggravating life.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Car-Free Life

There’s little question that there are a lot of advantages to dwelling with out a automobile. The perks of a car-free life embrace:

  • Savings. Owning a automobile is expensive. Aside from the price of the automobile itself, you need to pay for fuel, insurance coverage, upkeep, and, relying on the place you reside, parking and tolls. According to AAA, the overall value of proudly owning a automobile ranges from round $4,580 for a small sedan to $7,173 for a half-ton pickup. Of course, there are methods to maintain these prices down, resembling or paying off your automobile mortgage early. But even when you pinch your pennies, proudly owning a automobile nonetheless prices you 1000’s of {dollars} per yr.
  • Health. Doctors agree that getting extra train is among the greatest issues, if not the most effective factor, you are able to do in your well being. And among the best methods to suit extra train into your day is to stroll or bike extra, reasonably than driving. Giving up your automobile virtually forces you to spend extra time transferring your physique, even when you’re solely strolling to the closest bus cease.
  • Less Stress. For many individuals, the hours spent behind the wheel are essentially the most aggravating a part of the day. Studies on the University of Montreal and Britain’s University of East Anglia each present that commuters who stroll or bike to work as a substitute of driving are extra relaxed each throughout their commute and after it. And, along with skipping all these hours sitting in site visitors, going car-free means no extra frantic looking for parking areas or worrying about making it again to your automobile earlier than the parking meter runs out.
  • Less Pollution. If you wish to stay a greener way of life, giving up your automobile is among the largest steps you’ll be able to take. Going car-free reduces your carbon footprint, in addition to your contribution to smog and acid rain.

But going car-free has its downsides too. The truth is, in lots of elements of this nation, it’s actually exhausting to get anyplace with out a automobile. And even when it’s doable to get the place you’re going by bus, by bike, or on foot, it usually takes rather a lot longer than driving.

Living with out a automobile is less complicated in some locations than others. Some U.S. cities, resembling Boston, Minneapolis, and San Francisco, encourage a car-free way of life by having nice mass transit programs or an in depth community of motorcycle trails. However, in rural or suburban areas, it’s usually exhausting to get round with out a automobile as a result of there’s restricted public transportation and few bike paths — and maybe not even any sidewalks.

Alternatives to Owning a Car

To decide whether or not a car-free life is smart for you, that you must know your choices and alternate options. For instance, strolling and biking might be sensible when you stay shut sufficient to the locations the place you’re employed and socialize. And in lots of cities, mass transit — resembling buses, subways, and trains — can take you nearly in every single place that you must go.

However, even when there are locations you’ll be able to’t go with out a automobile, that doesn’t essentially imply that you must personal one. You may have the ability to share rides with others, both in a carpool or via a proper ridesharing program like Uber. Alternatively, participate in a car-sharing program like Zipcar, which provides you entry to a automobile once you want it. And when you solely want a automobile on very uncommon events, merely lease one or take a cab.

1. Walking

Walking might be the only technique to get from place to position. However, that doesn’t imply it’s all the time the best. Walking has quite a lot of perks, but it surely has some critical drawbacks as nicely.


  • It’s Free. Walking from place to position requires no gear other than a snug pair of footwear. Most folks have already got that — and even when you don’t, you should purchase an honest pair of strolling footwear for as little as $40.
  • It Works Everywhere. Not each space has buses and trains, car-sharing applications, and even cabs. But strolling is feasible anyplace there’s a floor to stroll on. And not like vehicles and cyclists, you’re not restricted to paved roads and paths once you stroll.
  • It’s Great Exercise. Walking for train provides an array of well being advantages. It strengthens your coronary heart, boosts bone density, tones your leg muscle tissues, reduces stress, improves stability, and helps you preserve a wholesome weight. And it’s not almost as exhausting in your joints as high-impact actions, resembling jogging or basketball.
  • You Learn Your Way Around. Walking is a good way to get to know your neighborhood. On foot, you’ll be able to uncover every kind of attention-grabbing hole-in-the-wall companies which might be simple to overlook once you’re dashing by in a automobile. In truth, a research at Britain’s University of Surrey, revealed on Science Direct, reveals that individuals are likely to see their environment in a extra optimistic approach once they’re on foot than once they’re driving.


  • It’s Slow. It takes rather a lot longer to get anyplace on foot than it does on wheels. So when you stroll to work, you’ll must rise up earlier within the morning to make it in on time.
  • It’s Tiring. Walking is much less strenuous than many different types of train. But even so, there’s solely to date you’ll be able to go on foot with out carrying your self out.
  • You’re Exposed to the Weather. In inclement climate, strolling simply isn’t nice. And if the climate circumstances are extreme sufficient, it may even be harmful.
  • Cars Are a Danger. Although it’s doable to stroll nearly anyplace, it isn’t all the time protected. Highways are designed for vehicles, not pedestrians, and drivers aren’t prone to be looking out for folks touring on foot. In many areas, it’s not even authorized for pedestrians to stroll alongside or throughout a significant roadway.
  • It’s Harder to Haul Things. When you run errands in your automobile, you don’t have to fret about carrying every little thing dwelling. You can simply match six baggage of groceries into the trunk, and even decrease a seat to make room for a few two-by-fours. When you’re on foot, you’re restricted to what you’ll be able to carry in your palms or in a backpack.

Bottom Line

All in all, strolling is most fitted for making brief journeys in developed areas with good sidewalks. It may also work for barely longer journeys — a number of miles at a time — when you’re in fairly fine condition and have time to spare.

2. Cycling

Cycling Alternatives Owning Car

Riding a motorcycle has lots of the identical benefits as strolling — and among the identical disadvantages as nicely. However, it additionally has its personal distinctive pluses and minuses, and it’s usually doable to seek out methods across the disadvantages with good planning and a little bit further gear.


  • It’s Cheap. If you already personal a bicycle, biking is sort of as low-cost as strolling. True, not like a pair of footwear, a bicycle does require a bit of standard upkeep. But in comparison with vehicles, bikes are rather a lot cheaper to purchase and preserve.
  • It’s Good Exercise. Just like strolling, biking is a good way to work common train into your day by day routine. With a motorcycle, your day by day commute turns into a technique to keep trim, strengthen your muscle tissues, and maintain your coronary heart in fine condition.
  • It’s Much Faster Than Walking. A reasonably match particular person can stroll at an approximate charge of three miles per hour. By distinction, a reasonably match bike owner can journey at round 15 miles per hour on metropolis streets. So when you stay six miles out of your office, it might take two hours to get there on foot, however lower than a half-hour on a bicycle.
  • You Can Go Where Cars Can’t. With the exception of main highways, bicycles can go almost anyplace vehicles can. But they will additionally go many locations that vehicles can’t. For instance, many parks have paths which might be closed to vehicles however open to cyclists and pedestrians. So on a motorcycle, you’ll be able to usually take a shortcut via the park, skirting round site visitors and having fun with a extra scenic view. And once you get the place you’re going, there’s a superb probability you’ll be able to chain your bike up proper outdoors the door as a substitute of getting to hunt round for a parking spot.
  • It’s Possible to Haul Stuff. For as little as $15, you’ll be able to connect a basket to the entrance of your bike. For an even bigger funding (roughly $50), you’ll be able to equip the again of the bike with a wire rack and a set of panniers, which grasp over the rack like saddlebags. You may even hook up a cargo trailer — which might be bought for roughly $150 — to the rear of your bike. And when you don’t want to modify or add something to your bicycle, merely put on a backpack.


  • There Are Some Costs. An excellent bicycle might be costly. A hybrid or leisure bike, appropriate for commuting and tooling round city, will set you again anyplace from $400 to nicely over $1,000. However, there are methods to decrease this value. For instance, it’s doable to purchase a used bike in good situation for as little as $100 (or even perhaps much less). Or, when you’re solely planning to experience often, it can save you by becoming a member of a bike-sharing program, which helps you to “check out” a motorcycle once you want one. These applications value round $85 per yr, plus an additional price if that you must use a motorcycle for a protracted journey. Along together with your bike, you additionally ought to count on to speculate $200 or so in further gear, resembling a helmet, bike lock, and lights.
  • Bikes Attract Thieves. One of the issues with using a very nice bike is that it’s a goal for thieves. There’s nothing fairly as irritating for a motorcycle commuter than to go away work and discover a damaged twine and lock the place an expensive bicycle needs to be. Fortunately, a strong steel U-lock will deter most thieves, and an honest one solely prices round $60.
  • Some Maintenance Is Required. A motorbike is far simpler than a automobile, so it’s a lot much less work to keep up. You can be taught to do a lot of the essential upkeep your self, drastically lowering journeys to the bike store. For instance, make sure to maintain the tires correctly inflated and the chain lubricated, and change brake pads and tires every time needed. Expect to spend not less than a couple of minutes every week and round $200 every year to keep up your bike.
  • It’s (Usually) Slower Than Driving. Even the quickest cyclists can’t experience as quick as a automobile touring at freeway speeds. Investing in an electric-assisted bicycle, or e-bike, can enhance your pace, however these high-tech cycles often value 1000’s of {dollars}. Furthermore, many highways are closed to bikes, so using a motorcycle usually forces you to take a extra roundabout route. On the opposite hand, cyclists can use some paths which might be closed to vehicles, so in some instances, using a motorcycle helps you to take a shorter, faster route. Also, once you’re using on the shoulder or in a devoted bike lane, you’ll be able to usually glide proper previous site visitors jams on the street. So relying on the place you’re going and the way dangerous the site visitors is, using a motorcycle might be virtually as quick as driving — and even quicker.
  • You Show Up Sweaty. One drawback with using your bike to work — or anyplace else the place you need to look presentable — is which you could present up sweaty and soiled out of your experience. You can carry a change of garments in a backpack or maintain a swimsuit on the workplace to vary into, however you continue to want to permit further time to wash up and alter.
  • Weather Poses a Risk. Just like strolling, using a motorcycle exposes you to the weather. Furthermore, cyclists must thoughts the street circumstances, preserving in thoughts that snowdrifts that may be maneuvered in a automobile could also be an impassable impediment for a motorcycle. Investing within the correct gear could make hot-weather and cold-weather biking extra manageable, but it surely’s by no means going to be as protected or simple as driving.
  • Cars Pose a Risk. When you’re touring in a devoted bike lane, you’ll be able to usually keep away from site visitors, though you continue to must watch out at intersections. But if lots of the roads in your space have quite a lot of site visitors and slim shoulders, they’re potential demise traps for bicyclists.

Bottom Line

Riding a motorcycle is greatest for brief to medium journeys — say, 15 miles or much less — in bike-friendly areas. This consists of bicycle and pedestrian paths, roads with devoted bike lanes, and streets with a large shoulder and never an excessive amount of site visitors.

3. In-Line Skates

Skates Alternatives Owning Car

In some areas, you will get round with a special type of wheels: in-line skates. Skating is kind of a center floor between strolling and biking. It falls in between the 2 when it comes to value, pace, and comfort.


  • Low Cost. A pair of skates prices between $50 and $150. That’s a little bit greater than a pair of strolling footwear, however fairly a bit lower than a brand new bicycle.
  • Improved Speed. Strapping on skates can enhance your pace to round 10 miles per hour. That’s considerably slower than using a bicycle, but it surely’s nonetheless greater than 3 times as quick as strolling.
  • Portability. Unlike a bicycle, skates are transportable. When you get to your vacation spot, you’ll be able to simply tie them collectively and sling them over your shoulder. This additionally makes it simpler to mix skating with public transportation. You can skate to the station, then hop on the prepare, carrying your skates with you. There’s no have to search for a spot to lock up your bike first.


  • Weather Is an Issue. Like strolling, skating exposes you to the weather. It’s quite a lot of enjoyable on a shiny, sunny day, but it surely’s fairly disagreeable in extreme warmth or chilly. And in heavy rain or snow, it may be much more harmful than strolling.
  • It Requires a Paved Surface. You can’t reduce throughout tough territory on skates the best way you’ll be able to on foot. You don’t want a full-sized street, however you do want a clean floor.

Bottom Line

Skating is sensible just about anyplace biking is. It’s good for journeys of as much as 10 miles wherever there’s good pavement and clement climate.

4. Public Transportation

Public Transportation Alternatives Owning Car

In many cities, it’s simple to get round with out a automobile. You can go virtually anyplace through the use of buses, subways, and lightweight rail. However, this selection isn’t obtainable in every single place, and it’s not all the time as handy as driving.


  • Cost Savings. The value of public transportation varies from metropolis to metropolis. However, in lots of massive cities — resembling New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago — you should purchase a one-month transit cross for between $100 and $150. This grants you limitless journey on most metropolis buses and trains. By distinction, the price of proudly owning a automobile, in accordance with the AAA research, is $382 to $598 per 30 days. So giving up your automobile and switching to transit can prevent anyplace from $232 to $498 per 30 days, or $2,784 to $5,976 per yr. In many cities, the financial savings are even better as a result of parking is so costly. According to a June 2017 report from the American Public Transportation Association, within the 20 cities with the very best transit use, a two-car couple who gave up one automobile would save a mean of $9,797 per yr.
  • A More Relaxing Ride. Driving on crowded metropolis streets might be very aggravating, and the time required can range drastically in accordance with site visitors. A 2014 research at McGill University discovered that drivers really feel extra stress throughout their day by day commutes than individuals who use mass transit.
  • More Free Time. When you’re sitting on a bus or a prepare, you don’t must deal with the street. You can use your time for different actions, resembling studying a guide or checking your e mail. So even when it takes longer to get to work, not less than the time isn’t wasted.
  • No Parking Hassles. Parking spots within the metropolis are sometimes scarce — to not point out costly. When you experience on a bus or a prepare, you’ll be able to simply hop off at your cease and go.


  • Not Available Everywhere. The largest drawback with public transportation is that, in lots of locations, there merely isn’t any. This is most frequently the case in rural and suburban areas, however even in some cities, transit stops are few and much between.
  • Longer Travel Times. Even in cities with loads of buses and trains, there isn’t all the time one which’s headed straight to the place you wish to go. Getting from level A to level B usually means taking a number of buses or trains, which makes your journey longer. A 2015 research on the University of Michigan discovered that the cities the place most individuals commute by transit (reasonably than by automobile) additionally are likely to have the longest commute instances. For occasion, in transit-friendly New York City, the common commute is sort of twice so long as in car-dependent Oklahoma City. Check Mapnificent to see what number of locations it’s doable to achieve in a given time utilizing your metropolis’s transit system.
  • You’re On a Strict Schedule. If you drive to work, waking up a couple of minutes late within the morning simply means you arrive at work a couple of minutes late. But when you commute by way of public transportation, working a couple of minutes late may imply lacking your bus and having to attend for the subsequent one. Depending on the schedule, that would make you as a lot as an hour late. Going out at evening might be a fair greater drawback. In many cities, the buses cease working late at evening. So when you miss the final bus, you might be stranded till morning.
  • It’s Hard to Haul Stuff. Most metropolis buses and trains don’t present a lot space for storing for luggage. So when you take a bus or prepare to the shop, you’ll be able to’t deliver dwelling a carload of groceries. You’re restricted to what you’ll be able to slot in a backpack or beneath your seat.

Bottom Line

Public transportation is a good possibility when you occur to stay in a metropolis with a superb transit system. It’s particularly helpful for commuting, since many city areas have further trains and buses working throughout the morning and night rush hours. 

However, even for metropolis dwellers, mass transit can’t all the time get you in every single place you wish to go. For occasion, when you usually go to mates who stay within the suburbs, you’ll be able to’t all the time depend on trains and buses to get you there.

5. Getting a Lift

Getting Lift Alternatives Owning Car

Even if there are some locations you’ll be able to’t get to with out a automobile, that doesn’t essentially imply it needs to be your automobile. Often, when you don’t personal a automobile, you’ll be able to share rides with mates or coworkers who do.

In idea, you’ll be able to go anyplace and carry something in a pal’s automobile that you might in your individual. In follow, nonetheless, you’ll be able to often solely share rides to locations that your car-owning pal goes too. An excellent pal most likely gained’t thoughts supplying you with a elevate to the airport every now and then. But when you ask for a experience to the grocery retailer each week, that’s benefiting from the friendship.

However, when you don’t have a pal who desires to go the place you’re going, it’s generally doable to get a experience from a stranger. Slugging and real-time ridesharing are two safer methods to seek out drivers who’re prepared to offer you a elevate.


If you’ve got coworkers who stay in your neighborhood, you’ll be able to carpool to work collectively. Carpooling has many benefits:

  • Save Money. Four folks using in a single automobile spend much less on fuel, tolls, and upkeep than 4 folks in 4 separate vehicles. In addition, one automobile wants just one parking place, so you’ll be able to all share the price of one parking allow.
  • Reduce Traffic. Carpooling reduces the variety of vehicles on the street. That means much less site visitors throughout the morning and night rush hours, which makes the commute much less aggravating.
  • Prevent Pollution. A single automobile with 4 folks additionally produces much less air pollution than 4 separate vehicles. Having fewer vehicles on the street helps reduce down on smog, acid rain, and greenhouse fuel emissions.
  • Enjoy the Company. Sharing a experience with coworkers is an efficient technique to get to know them higher. Chatting with your folks on the best way to work is a way more nice technique to cross the time than sitting alone behind the wheel cursing on the site visitors.

The principal disadvantage of carpooling is that it solely works if in case you have folks to carpool with. If you’re employed at a small firm, the possibilities of having coworkers dwelling close by are slim. Also, carpooling requires you to be on a stricter schedule within the morning. If you run late, you both miss your experience or make all of your coworkers late together with you.


In many cities, rush-hour drivers decide up further passengers to allow them to use the faster-moving HOV (high-occupancy car) lanes on the freeway. This follow, generally known as “instant carpooling,” or “slugging,” is commonest in Washington, D.C.

To catch a experience this fashion, you need to stand in a “slug line” with different passengers in search of rides. Then you await a driver to tug over and name out a vacation spot that matches yours. explains the place to seek out slug strains within the District of Columbia space.

Slugging is free and is commonly quicker than public transportation. The apparent draw back is that it’s not obtainable in most cities. And even when you occur to stay in Washington, slugging isn’t a positive factor, like taking a bus. Chances are you’ll discover a driver who’s headed to the place you wish to go, however you’ll be able to’t all the time make certain.

Real-Time Ridesharing

If you don’t stay in Washington, D.C., you’ll be able to nonetheless discover folks to share rides with via a real-time ridesharing web site. Real-time ridesharing isn’t the identical factor as industrial ridesharing applications resembling Uber (mentioned beneath). 

Instead, it’s merely a approach for drivers in search of firm to seek out passengers in search of a elevate. SpaceShare and the “rideshare” part on Craigslist are two websites you’ll be able to search to discover a driver who’s heading your approach.

Unlike slugging, real-time ridesharing is an possibility in all elements of the nation. However, there’s nonetheless no assure that yow will discover a driver who desires to take you the place you wish to go. Your likelihood is higher when you stay in a giant metropolis, the place there are many drivers and passengers to match up with one another.

Also, ridesharing generally comes with a price ticket. A fast search of Craigslist for my space turned up just a few listings from drivers providing free rides, or asking just for fuel cash. Most listings have been from drivers in search of cash for a experience — mainly, unlicensed taxi providers. If you’re going to pay for a experience, it’s safer to take an actual taxi.

6. Taxis and Ridesharing

Taxis Ridesharing Alternatives Owning Car

Ridesharing programs resembling Uber and Lyft have extra in widespread with a taxi service than with a casual carpool. When you enroll with one in every of these providers, you create an account, obtain an app, and put your credit score or debit card on file. 

Then, once you want a experience, you employ the app to sign a driver who’s in your space. The fare will get charged routinely to your bank card.

Ridesharing vs. Cabs

Of course, it’s nonetheless doable to name a cab the old school approach. Traditional cabs usually value extra, however not all the time. In basic, for lengthy journeys at quick speeds, experience sharing is prone to be a less expensive possibility. But for brief journeys, the standard taxi prices much less, even with the tip.

Also, Uber and Lyft usually elevate charges based mostly on demand. By distinction, taxis usually cost the identical quantity per mile always. So in high-traffic areas, or at busy instances of the day, an Uber experience is prone to value greater than a cab. 

Taxis produce other perks in comparison with ridesharing corporations. For occasion, many Uber and Lyft drivers have compact vehicles that don’t provide you with quite a lot of room to stretch out. Also, these drivers don’t all the time know their approach across the metropolis in addition to a seasoned cabbie.

On the plus facet, utilizing a ridesharing app might be extra handy than hailing or calling for a cab. These apps mean you can monitor the place drivers are, so you know the way lengthy you’ll have to attend in your experience. You may also charge completely different drivers and keep away from being paired with those you don’t like.


  • You Can Go Anywhere. Both taxis and ridesharing providers can take you anyplace inside driving distance. This makes them a good selection for touring out to the suburbs, the place mass transit doesn’t all the time go.
  • Ready on Call. With taxis and rideshares, you set your individual schedule. You don’t have to take a seat on the station ready for the subsequent bus or prepare to indicate up. You can simply name for a experience at any time — even late at evening.
  • Room for Baggage. A cab or rideshare automobile has a trunk that may stash your belongings. That is useful once you’re getting back from a purchasing spree loaded down with purchases.
  • You Don’t Have to Drive. If you’re heading dwelling after an evening of bar-hopping, you’re most likely in no situation to drive your self. With cabs and rideshares, you’ve got a sober driver who can get you dwelling safely. These providers additionally work when you can’t drive due to a incapacity or since you don’t have a driver’s license. And when you’re in an unfamiliar metropolis and don’t know your approach round, a cab or rideshare helps you to depart the driving to somebody who does.


  • It’s Pricey. Although Uber and Lyft can value lower than cabs, neither possibility is strictly low-cost. In New York City, you pay a minimal of $2.50 for a cab or $7 for UberX, with larger prices for longer journeys. By distinction, a experience on the New York City Subway prices a flat $2.75 regardless of the place you’re going.
  • You Pay While You’re Parked. If you’ve got a number of errands to run, you don’t simply pay for the time you spend on the street. You additionally pay for every minute your driver sits outdoors ready when you store. So when you spend 40 minutes doing all your weekly grocery purchasing, you’ll be able to rack up fairly a hefty invoice. Also, with ridesharing providers, drivers aren’t really required to attend for you. If your driver isn’t prepared to attend, you’ll must name for a brand new experience once you’re completed purchasing.
  • Urban Areas Only. Ridesharing providers are solely obtainable in sure cities. The Uber and Lyft web sites have lists of cities the place these providers run. Taxis can be exhausting to seek out outdoors of city areas.

Bottom Line

Taxis and ridesharing are a good selection for metropolis dwellers who have to journey to the suburbs and vice versa. They additionally come in useful late at evening. Calling for a experience is safer than strolling dwelling at 2am, and it’s much less of a trouble than hurrying to catch the final prepare.

However, due to the price, these providers solely make sense for infrequent use. Taking a cab for a grocery run as soon as per week might be cheaper than proudly owning a automobile. But utilizing one to get to work day-after-day can be an actual budget-buster.

7. Car-Sharing and Car Rentals

Carsharing Car Rentals

Want to drive with out the effort of proudly owning a automobile? Both automobile rental businesses and car-sharing applications, resembling Zipcar, provide you with entry to a automobile solely once you want it.

Rentals vs. Car-Sharing

Car leases and car-sharing applications each provide you with non permanent use of a automobile, however in several methods. With a rental, you pay in your automobile by the day. You additionally pay for fuel, insurance coverage, and parking, if wanted.

With car-sharing applications, you pay a month-to-month price to get entry to a fleet of vehicles. On high of that, you pay by the minute, the hour, or the day once you test one out. Gas, insurance coverage, and parking are all included.

Which service is the higher deal is dependent upon how you employ it. In the U.S., a primary Zipcar membership prices $9 per 30 days, or $90 for a full yr. On high of that, you pay an hourly charge that’s often between $10 and $20. You may also get a full day of use for $90 to $120. 

Car rental prices range by metropolis, time of yr, and kind of automobile. On peer-to-peer rental websites like Turo, some low-end fashions value as little as $25 per day, whereas dear sports activities vehicles lease for upwards of $1,000. 

With this vast a variety, it’s exhausting to check the price of renting versus car-sharing. But on the whole, renting is prone to be a greater deal for lengthy, rare journeys. There’s no month-to-month cost, and you may most likely pay much less per day than you’d with Zipcar.

However, when you recurrently want a automobile for brief journeys, car-sharing might be a greater deal. If you employ a Zipcar for an hour at a time, 10 days per 30 days, you’ll pay a most of $209 for the month. If you needed to lease a automobile for every of these 10 days, you’d probably pay not less than $250.


  • Cheaper Than Owning. For rare customers, each automobile leases and car-sharing are cheaper than proudly owning a automobile. According to the AAA research, proudly owning a automobile prices the common driver $4,580 to $7,173 per yr. By distinction, utilizing Zipcar for brief journeys 10 instances per 30 days would value round $2,500 a yr. And for very uncommon customers, renting a automobile for 2 weeks per yr may value as little as $350.
  • You Can Drive Anywhere. Once you’re behind the wheel of a rental automobile or a shared automobile, you’ll be able to take it down any street within the nation. You’re not restricted to areas you’ll be able to attain via transit or attain on foot with out tiring.
  • Plenty of Cargo Space. Renting and car-sharing provide you with a complete trunk to hold baggage, purchasing baggage, or anything. You may also lease an even bigger car, resembling an SUV, if you wish to haul dwelling a chunk of furnishings or a number of board ft of lumber.
  • No Fee for Waiting. Unlike a cab, a rental automobile doesn’t sit there working its meter when you deal with your errands. You can go from retailer to retailer, working out and in, and pay the identical hourly or day by day price.


  • Costs Add Up. Renting and car-sharing are reasonably priced decisions when you solely want a automobile often. However, they will get costly when you use the automobile recurrently. If you took a Zipcar to and from work day-after-day, leaving it parked at your office for eight hours, you’d have to pay for a full day’s use throughout about 23 days per 30 days. In this state of affairs, your month-to-month tab may come to as a lot as $2,769 — excess of the price of proudly owning a automobile.
  • Limited Locations. You can go anyplace you want in a rental automobile or shared automobile. But to get the automobile within the first place — and drop it off once you’re achieved — you need to stay inside hanging distance of a rental workplace or car-sharing location. Zipcar is accessible in additional than 300 U.S. and Canadian cities, however many states have just one or two areas. Car leases might be present in most good-sized cities, however there aren’t many in smaller cities.
  • Reservations Required. To lease a automobile or take a look at a Zipcar, that you must reserve the automobile forward of time. This means they’re probably not a superb possibility for spur-of-the-moment journeys — as an example, if one thing in your home breaks and you need to make an unplanned run to the ironmongery store. You can attempt to reserve a automobile for speedy use, however you’ll be able to’t make sure there will likely be one obtainable. Also, once you reserve a Zipcar, you solely get it for a hard and fast size of time. You can use the app to increase your reservation in case your plans change, however provided that the automobile hasn’t been promised to another person.
  • You Have to Drive. Driving in heavy site visitors is aggravating whether or not you personal the automobile or not. With a rental or shared automobile, you’re the one who has to fret about avoiding accidents and navigating via crowded streets. Rentals and car-sharing additionally aren’t a good selection for nights out, when you could be coming dwelling too sleepy or tipsy to drive safely. And, clearly, driving a rental isn’t an possibility when you don’t have a license.

Bottom Line

Car-sharing and automobile leases might be good decisions when you stay in a metropolis the place they’re obtainable and also you solely want a automobile often. They work nicely for journeys you’ve scheduled forward of time, resembling physician’s appointments, so you’ll be able to reserve the automobile upfront. They’re additionally helpful when you’ve got quite a lot of stuff to hold. However, these providers are too dear to depend on for on a regular basis use.

Final Word

If it seems that it isn’t sensible so that you can surrender your automobile, don’t despair. Even when you can’t go car-free, you will get lots of the identical advantages by going “car-light.” Basically, this implies you retain your automobile, however you solely use it every now and then.

For many individuals, going car-light is the most effective of each worlds. For instance, you’ll be able to stroll or experience your bike in nice climate, getting wholesome train and having fun with the recent air. 

But on days when the climate is chilly and the roads are slippery, you’ve got your automobile as a backup. You may also use the automobile when you need to transport a number of folks or a load of baggage.

Going car-light doesn’t get rid of your driving bills, however it might scale back them. Obviously, the much less you drive, the much less you need to pay for fuel. Driving much less additionally places much less put on and tear in your automobile, decreasing upkeep prices. You nonetheless must pay for auto insurance coverage, however many corporations will scale back your premiums when you drive little or no.

To estimate how a lot you might save by driving much less, check out the AAA report. In addition to displaying the price per yr of proudly owning a automobile, it additionally estimates how a lot it prices per mile to drive one. 

According to this report, when you reduce your driving from 15,000 miles per yr to 10,000, you’d save about $2,110 per yr. And you’d benefit from the well being and environmental perks of driving much less as nicely.