Owning a car – while convenient – can come at a significant cost, not just financially but environmentally as well. This is especially true for the many Australians who own a car, but only use it occasionally, resulting in it sitting in their driveway or on the street incurring unnecessary costs and taking a considerable toll on the environment.
An alternative to car ownership that is becoming increasingly popular due to its environmental and financial benefits is car sharing. From a financial perspective, car sharing saves you from paying all the car ownership that add up throughout the year such as rego, service costs, repairs, insurance and petrol. The average car can cost the owner more than $3,000 per year just to keep it on the road. Car sharing means that they take care of all of that for you – all the way down to refilling the petrol tank.
There are also a number of ways in which car sharing lessens the impact that cars have on the environment. Firstly, it leads to few cars on the road and less emissions and better air quality as a result. According to data by Berkeley University and Deloitte Monitor Institute, one car sharing vehicle replaces 9 – 13 traditionally owned cars on the road.
Car sharing also decreases the demand for car manufacturing which can lead to a huge strain on resources. For example, over 39 thousand gallons of water are needed to build just one car, while tyres require over 500 gallons of water each, not to mention the huge initial carbon outlay. Since the production of cars creates such a large impact on the environment, the most sustainable way for cars to function is to produce fewer cars and use these cars as much as possible.
Individually owned cars tend not to reach their full potential in terms of the extent to which they are used before they are replaced. In reality, cars can be kept running for 20-30 years, but the cost of maintenance means we choose to replace them well before it is really necessary. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to produce less cars, then double, triple and quadruple their use by way of car sharing.
Popcar, Australia’s car sharing industry disruptor, has always been committed to providing a more sustainable and easy way for Australians to move around. Popcar’s vehicles are newer and more fuel-efficient models, with a hybrid car options available. The benefits of these types of cars are that require fewer services, less maintenance and repairs, have more up to date technology, are better suited to city driving as they use almost no energy in traffic jams. Diesel engines emit particulates that can have serious health effects, while petrol engines emit toxic gases.
For our cities, it is extremely beneficial to shift the supply and demand of vehicles towards the minimum necessity. Fewer cars needing to be parked in city streets, and inner-city car parks can lower congestion and the time spent sitting in traffic jams. This would allow more space in cities to be used for other purposes such as green spaces, rather than towering concrete car parks that store cars for hours on end. Car sharing also encourages car substitutes for journeys in which a car is not required and can help provide incentive for local governments to maximise the efficiency of public transport.
It’s apparent that initiatives like Popcar are a step in the right direction, and are helping our cities become cleaner, safer, and more enjoyable places to live.