The problem with my car… and a solution? Part 1

I bought a car in the summer of 2011. It was the cutest, most environmentally-friendly car I could imagine—a hatchback Volkswagen TDI golf with a window sticker rating at 43 MPG (highway). It is very fun to drive.

None-the-less, I come inches away from selling my car at least once a month. My bicycle is simply an easier and more enjoyable way to get around 95% of the time, and I’d rather take the bus or walk than deal with parking. Climate change also prevents me from getting excited about driving my vehicle. Who can ignore it when there are glaciers melting just outside the city and Shell’s arctic drilling fleet parking in our waterfront?

The only reason that I continuously keep deciding not to sell my car is so I can enjoy the occasional weekend hike or quarter-break journey—long-distance trips that would be inaccessible without a car. After the readings for this week, I found myself scouring the internet for information on rental cars in attempt to prove to myself that I can ditch my car and still take trips outside the city when I want. That’s when I stumbled across the “RelayRides.”

golf ad

I created a profile and registered my car right away. A bit impulsive, but after reviewing the details of the peer-to-peer car share program, I figured I had very little to lose and a lot to gain. My car could basically start paying for itself. Additionally, I could enable someone else without a private vehicle of their own to make day trips out of the city using a fuel efficient vehicle.


I am interested in how car sharing impacts carbon reductions. More sharing means less new cars on the road, but possibly more driving? claims that car sharing diminished global carbon dioxide emissions in 2009 by 482,170 tons (half the weight of the Golden Gate Bridge). They also claim that carsharing members drove 31% less than when they owned a personal vehicle. Zipcar says that for every rented car, there are 15 fewer owned cars on the road. Seems like maybe peer-to-peer car share could be a win-win-win situation: good for the owner, the renter, and the environment.


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