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Car sharing: the pros and cons

7 June 2018

Car sharing is a fairly new form of mobility that has only become available in Australia over the past few years. If you’ve heard of it, but aren’t sure as to whether it is right for you, read on. We’ve weighed up the pros and cons so you can determine whether car sharing is right for you.

The car sharing model continues to expand across Australia though it is still better suited to city dwellers in and around the major cities. Urban drivers have the benefits of convenient car share pick-up locations and the availability of alternative transport methods including walking, cycling and public transport.

One question you need to ask yourself is, how much are you paying to run your car? It’s a simple question with a multi-layered answer.

Firstly, there are the annual costs that can add up: vehicle registration, CTP, insurance, petrol, maintenance and servicing. But don’t forget the ‘standing costs’ of car ownership too – the price of the car itself and even the garage space attached to the home you own or rent.

Car sharing pros

1. Your bank balance might thank you

The cost saving benefits of car sharing are worth exploring provided you don’t drive very regularly. The 10-15,000 km per year mark is often identified as the tipping point for car sharing affordability. If you drive more than this, the savings could be minimal and it’s probably worth hanging onto your own wheels.

2. Don’t pay for a car you don’t use

Heading overseas for a month? Have you landed a new job that’s a 10-minute walk from home? Maybe you’ve moved to an apartment in the CBD. For infrequent drivers, car sharing offers a flexible transport option, which means you’re not paying to have your car sitting and depreciating in value.

When calculating your car usage over time, keep your eye on the odometer and remember to track your trips over the course of a few months or more, to get a gauge on how often you’re really hitting the road.

3. Fewer cars, less congestion on the road

Over the last few years, a number of studies have uncovered the potential traffic-easing benefits of widespread car sharing, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne where the peak hour grind seems to be getting worse by the week.

According to a report by Phillip Boyle & Associates titled The Impact of Car Share Services in Australia, it is estimated that just 1 car sharing vehicle on the road can replace 10 cars on the road. Aside from the reduction in congestion, mass use of car sharing would also reduce parking congestion along with air and noise pollution.

4. Changing how we move

We all know the benefits of physical exercise, but many of us forget that just 30 minutes of walking a day can make a measurable difference to our long-term health.

The study by Phillip Boyle & Associates shows a strong correlation between public health benefits with the rise in car sharing, finding that it encourages more active and healthier communities. By taking away the automatic convenience of owning a car, it appears people shift in their attitudes and approach to getting from A to B.

Car sharing cons

1. You’ll need to plan ahead

Currently, many car sharing services have ‘instant booking’ options, which means you can be a bit more spontaneous about how you get around, but you’ll need to check that the pick-up point is somewhere you can easily get to and from.

That means planning in advance for when you’ll next need to use a car or setting aside the extra time you might need for walking or public transport trips instead.

2. Put away the fluffy dice

As a nation, we’re pretty attached to our cars. Whether we’ve got ours decked out with a high-quality sound system or littered with bumper stickers across the rear window, it’s likely we’ve formed a personal connection to our ride. Sentimental factors are a big influence on our car ownership and often overpower our rationale and economic reasoning.

So, if you’re serious about the car ownership alternatives, you’ll need to get comfortable with saying goodbye to this part of your driving identity.

The road ahead for car sharing

Car sharing is a rising trend that could offer genuine cost saving, traffic reduction and health benefits to drivers in and around the major cities. But it’s not going to suit everyone, which is why it’s crucial to weigh up the pros and cons for your unique situation.

Read more on Learn About

The information is intended to be of a general nature only. Please make your own enquiries.