Saving the Planet with RelayRides' Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing Marketplace


In our latest blog post, RelayRides blogger Nicholas Pell elaborates on one of our older green driving tip posts and shares how you can help save the planet with peer-to-peer car sharing.

According to a recent article in The Economist, over half of the world’s oil is used for transportation. Three quarters of that is spent moving cars down the road. People have started paying more attention to how to live “carbon neutral” lives over the past few years. However, even the most dedicated environmentalist can quickly come up against a hard reality of life in the United States: the near impossibility of living without a car. Fortunately, car sharing marketplaces like RelayRides provide a way to minimize your impact on the planet without having to carry home 100 pounds of groceries in a rolling basket.

Jenny B’s Nissan Leaf is one of the many ways we’re keeping it green here at RelayRides

The problem of fossil fuel consumption is by no means a static one. The International Energy Agency report that The Economist article above cites states that the amount of fuel used in transport will double by the year 2050. If you’re concerned about carbon emissions in 2012, it’s only going to get worse from here.

It might not immediately be obvious how peer-to-peer car sharing saves the planet, but a study from the University of California, Berkeley found that one car shared takes 13 off the road. This is because people who participate in car-sharing schemes are more likely to find other ways to get around when they aren’t hiring cars. Whether it’s walking to places within walking distance, or cycling, if you have to pay per hour to use a car and plan your trips accordingly, chances are good that you’re going to be a bit more mindful of when you choose to use a car.

But getting a car from a peer-to-peer car-sharing service when you need one isn’t terribly hard. Unlike traditional fleet-based car-rental and car-sharing companies, there’s no limit to the number of cars in RelayRides’ “fleet.” Wherever someone has a car that they aren’t using, RelayRides has a potential car in its fleet. This means that if your favorite vehicle is being rented, there are a number of other cars that you can rent for a similar price, a price that also happens to be a fraction of the cost of the cars offered by fleet-based rental services.

And unlike fleet-based, traditional car sharing services, RelayRides owners don’t need certain utilization rates to be profitable, meaning RelayRides cars are available where traditional car sharing marketplaces are not: less densely populated rural and suburban areas. So, if you think about it RelayRides is bringing the benefits of car sharing to the masses.

What’s more, it’s easier to get a fuel-efficient vehicle. A number of low and middle-income individuals and families can’t afford even the least expensive hybrids, to say nothing of electric cars. Even when renting these from fleet-based car rental services, the cost can be prohibitive. But when you rent from your neighbors in a peer-to-peer car-sharing scheme, you can select a car on the basis of fuel efficiency alone without breaking the bank, think of vehicles such as Jenny B’s Nissan Leaf for $8 per hour. Can’t afford to own a Chevrolet Volt? Go ahead and rent one from someone in your neighborhood using RelayRides and never have to worry about making a monthly car payment, paying for insurance, or any of the costs associated with owning a car.

For the person who can’t live completely without a car, but doesn’t want the costs of environmental impact associated with owning one, the choice is a no-brainer. A peer-to-peer car-sharing service like RelayRides allows you to keep your money in the community, cut down on carbon emissions and save yourself money at the same time. No matter which one of these you’re most interested in, feel free to pat yourself on the back for all of them. Even if all you want to do is save yourself some money, you’re still doing the environment a solid at the same time.

Interested in living a car-free life? Sign up today! Have a car that you want to make you as much as $1,000 per month? Start renting your car immediately.