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What is a Car Share?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
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A car share is a company which allows people use of a car when they need it, without having to pay the upkeep costs for the vehicle. Most car share companies are in urban areas, to take advantage of a much larger customer base, and they can be set up in a number of ways. For people who do not need a car that frequently, or who do not want to deal with the hassle of a car when they do need one, a car share is an option that should be considered. A car share fee covers insurance, maintenance, and sometimes fuel as well.

Renting a car tends to be expensive in the long term, and rental cars are also usually not available for quick trips, like a visit to the grocery store or a hardware store. Most car rental agencies have a minimum fee which must be paid, and drivers must put down a deposit for every rental and fill out paperwork. In a car share, the deposit and paperwork are handled once, and the customer needs only to reserve a car when he or she wants one, indicating how long they plan to use the car and picking it up at a designated spot.

In most areas, a car share does not have a central lot. Instead, cars are scattered all over the city to allow drivers to pick up cars where it is convenient. If a driver pays for a parking space with a home or apartment rental, he or she can often receive a deal on a monthly car share by allowing that space to be used for a car share car. A car share with a large network may have cars around almost every corner, all of which can be accessed by a master key which is given out to all members. The car share member uses the car, refuels it, and returns it to the space where he or she found it.

There are a number of ways to subscribe to a car share, depending on the type of usage that a driver anticipates. In general, every member of the car share pays a deposit up front, which varies in cost depending on the car share company. From there, the options are plentiful. Many drivers prefer to pay a monthly fee which allows them a set number of hours of usage, paying an additional fee for hours over that allowance. In other cases, drivers pay a monthly fee and then pay per use, on a hourly or mileage-based rate.

While most car share companies charge by the hour and/or mile, they often offer promotional rates for cars kept overnight. A car share car can be taken on a brief road trip, for example, although there are sometimes restrictions on taking it out of state. Many major cities around the world have car share programs; to learn more about one in your area, search for your city and “car share” in your favorite search engine.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WikiMotors researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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