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HOURCAR is a paradox. Why would an environmental organization decide to put a bunch of cars on the road?

Here’s the deal: the practice of round-trip, reservations-based car sharing reduces driving. If you’re a transportation wonk, that’s VMT (vehicle miles traveled). How? That part’s easy. Unlike most car owners, HOURCAR members know exactly how much each car trip costs. So they choose cheaper transportation methods, minimize their time behind the wheel, and save a bundle. Less driving means less pollution and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. It’s that simple.

Let’s put some numbers to this. Say that a typical MSP driver covers 9205 miles in their personal vehicle annually (estimated from the Met Council’s Travel Behavior Inventory). Research predicts that by car sharing, this driver reduces their VMT by 27%, or 2485 miles per year. Since each HOURCAR serves approximately 46 drivers, every car in our fleet reduces driving by 114,310 miles per year.

Without HOURCAR, many of our members would drive every day. Now, instead of driving, HOURCAR members walk, bike, use transit, hail a cab, or skip the trip entirely. When they do drive, HOURCAR members are behind the wheels of one of the most fuel-efficient car-sharing fleets in the world.

Cool, huh?

HOURCAR members are green, fit, and flush

HOURCAR may be in the car business, but our mission is to help people drive less, not more. Most car sharers use cars less often and more efficiently. They walk more, they take advantage of light rail and buses, and they have been known to enjoy their bicycles. Studies of round-trip, reservations-based car sharing show that each shared car removes between 5 and 20 cars from the roadway, meaning less congestion, less pollution, and a better environment.

HOURCAR offers Twin Cities residents and employers a great way to reduce transportation expenses without reducing mobility. You can sell your car and save thousands of dollars every year. If you haven’t bought a car yet, don’t! See how the HOURCAR lifestyle stacks up compared to car ownership.

We are also one of the greenest car shares in the world

We love efficient cars. Our fleet features a substantial herd of ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) and partial zero emission vehicles (PZEVs), most of which are hybrids, along with four plug-in hybrids, two of which are solar-powered. So even when you are driving, you are driving efficiently.

It’s a Fact!

Studies and member surveys show that US car-sharing programs improve air quality, conserve fuel, relieve traffic congestion, and reduce demand for parking space.

The Research

We think that car sharing is a major step forward in reducing auto emissions and helping people save money. But don’t just take our word for it. See for yourself the peer-reviewed academic papers on round-trip, reservations-based car sharing (the kind that HOURCAR offers).

Start your knowledge journey with the car-sharing research reports of Susan Shaheen, Ph.D.

Owning a car is expensive

You make monthly payments or you drop a few grand all at once to buy a car. Then you shell out for gasoline, insurance, parking, annual registration and plates, plus repair and maintenance costs, all while your vehicle’s value drops fast.

Because it’s sitting right there calling to you, you probably drive your car a lot—even for trips that you could easily make in cheaper, healthier, safer, less polluting and more entertaining ways.

Sell your car – or don’t buy one in the first place

You have a lot of options in the Twin Cities. Walk, bike, or use transit to reach most of your daily destinations. Carpool with your sweetheart (or your neighbor) or take a taxi. When you need a private car, simply reserve an HOURCAR for the amount of time you need.

As an HOURCAR member, you control the amount of money you spend on transportation. You can save a bundle, but we’re not going to lie about it—to save money you will be driving less. Don’t worry, though. You will still be very mobile!

Compare HOURCAR to the typical costs of car ownership

Car Ownership: $7,152 per year
2009 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan, valued by Edmund’s True Cost to Own

HOURCAR Lifestyle*: $4,850 per year
Metro Transit unlimited ride pass, rush hour fare $1,020
Bicycle tune-up & equipment $200
Walking shoes & gear $200
Taxi service – 2 round trips per month $660
Rental car – 1 week, sedan $250
HOURCAR $2,520
(Includes 10 reserved hours driving plus two 24-hour Daily Rate reservations each month)

*This model assumes that you will use transit year around; that you will bike whenever you want to; and that you will take two round trip cab rides each month—one for 10 miles and the other for 5 miles. We’ve also built in a week of car rental for a road trip and a pair (or two) of walking shoes, plus a backpack, umbrella and an all-weather coat.

You probably won’t spend this much money on transportation—most HOURCAR members don’t. But isn’t it nice to know you can, and still save a bundle?