Car-Sharing Takes Off With High Gas Prices

One way to avoid the high price of gas is to carpool, which the government has been encouraging for years through the construction of HOV lanes on higways.

Americans often resist carpooling in favor of driving alone, but is having success making it work.

The group says they have 3.6 million registered users with more than 2 million active monthly users.

"Single occupancy commuting is both incredibly expensive and such a waste of resources, and ridesharing reduces the cost of driving up to 75 percent and helps people to stay mobile, despite rising gas costs," says CEO Markus Barnikel.

Drivers offer empty seats and passengers book a seat online just like a bus or a train ticket. People choose who they want to ride with, how much space they need, where they want to meet, and what they’re willing to pay.

"In 2011 alone, we’ve calculated that more than 27 million gallons of gas have been saved and 205,000 tons of CO2 were not released because of our service," says Barnikel.

And they’ve made thousands of friendships and 10 marriages! has local versions in nine countries and seven languages: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Poland and Greece.

Zipcar Starts EV Car-Sharing in Chicago

Another option is to join a car-sharing network like Zipcar (Nasdaq: ZIP), which just launched a pilot electric vehicle (EV) program in Chicago.

Members can rent Chevrolet Volts by the hour at pods across  the city. 350Green is installing EV charging stations there and the Chicago Transit Authority, Tishman Speyer, LAZ Parking and Cityfront Place Apartments are providing access to cars and charging station in commercial and residential buildings, private parking lots and along the rail system.

This year, the City of Chicago is installing hundreds of EV charging stations to develop infrastructure throughout the city.

Zipcar has 673,000 members and 8,900 vehicles in urban areas and college campuses throughout the US, Canada and UK. 

Zipcar went public last year and through a partnership with Ford, is providing $300,000 in grants for student organizations through the "Students with Drive" grant program.

U-Haul also has a car-sharing service and Daimler is expanding its electric vehicle car-sharing service nationwide this year.

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