HOURCAR® is a paradox. Why would an environmental organization decide to put a bunch of cars on the road?
HOURCAR introduced car sharing to Minnesota in 2005 as a way for residents to get around conveniently without owning cars. 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.
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.
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.