Could Car Sharing Go Mainstream?

Alan Durning decides to live car free for one year. He envisions a market for 'off-duty' cars, in which anyone could put his car up for rent when it was not in use. If you could, would you rent your car when you weren't using it?

"Each time I walk to a Flexcar in my neighborhood, I pass scores of parked private cars. I sometimes fantasize about strolling up to one of them, swiping my Flexcard over the dash, and driving away. I'd be debited automatically; my neighbor would be credited, less a slice for Flexcar. And I'd have a vastly larger pool of vehicles at my disposal.

...In car-sharing, as in much of life in North America, liability and insurance concerns are killers of innovation. Flexcar's first CEO Neil Peterson once told me that getting insurance coverage was by far the biggest obstacle to his company's early success.

...Fostering an hourly market for off-duty cars could make a big contribution to creating healthy, lasting prosperity. It'd give more people ready access to a car without having to buy one (or a second one). It would help shrink the over-capacity in the vehicle fleet and drive steep reductions in how much driving we do-in ways that generate profits (or savings) for both car owners and nonowners."

Alan Durning is the founder and executive director of Sightline Institute.

Thanks to Ashwani Vasishth

Full Story: Profits from Idle Cars? First, Think Like an MBA


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