I-Go (Zipcar)

It’s absolutely true that knowing other people are using the same car makes one (okay me) less likely to trash it. I also try to remember to push the driver seat all the way back in case the next person using the car is taller than me, which is highly likely.

And an unintended consequence of using I-Go (and I would assume Zipcar)–I don’t have to drive the same car every time I need one. This makes certain car-owning friends of mine green with envy. They’re stuck with the car they bought unless they want to spend even more money and rent something now and then. I spend maybe 1/10th of what they do in a year on car-related expenses AND I have a what amounts to a fleet to choose from.

Link to Straight Dope Chicago column: http://chicago.straightdope.com/sdc20091112.php

I have rented cars from one of these companies and it was so filthy I couldn’t sit down. Other times it has been ok. Seldom really clean. As for “saving the planet”… huh ? It’s a gas-burning engine, it pollutes. Economic? Are you out of your mind? It’s very expensive.
Was one of the options for using these services “cannot afford to buy a car” ?? That is more than likely the real reason for using it.
I wish this effort well, I really do. But as far as I am concerned it doesn’t help ecologically to take turns polluting. The only way it would be clean each time, is if it were vacuumed. This would require time and money… sometimes I had to START my session with a visit to the vacs.
Cecil ! Ask members for info, not just the CEO’s… you’d learn the whole picture. Cheers !

Cheryl44: When you start a thread, it’s helpful to other readers if you provide a link to the column you’re commenting on. Helps keep us on the same page, avoids repetition, saves search time. No biggie, I’ve edited for you.

Of course, but you drive less, so you pollute less. As I said in the column, Zipcar claim its surveys show people drove less than they did when they owned cars and walked, biked, or took transit more. You may say they’re lying, but the idea doesn’t strike me as implausible.

Only if you ignore the total cost of car ownership - payments, upkeep, insurance, and so on. If you were silly enough to own a car AND use a car-sharing service, yes, it would be expensive, but the idea is that one is a replacement for the other.

Come now. Car-sharing services tend to concentrate on densely built-up neighborhoods, many along the lakefront. These are hardly impoverished areas.

To repeat, you drive less, for obvious reasons - the hourly rate is, as you say, pretty stiff, ~$7/hr. You don’t just hop into the car and drive places, as you would with a car you owned.

This was the central question tackled in the column. Evidently you’d answer it by saying the cars do get trashed.

That’s why we have the message board - it saves me the trouble of having camp out by car-sharing spots waiting to interview users. I’m interested to hear if others take as dim a view as you do.