Are you looking for a car, maybe even a second ride, but also hoping to reduce emissions and expenses?
Green-conscious folks are accomplishing that with two local programs. One uses communal vehicles, the other rewards reduction of drive time.
Nonprofit car-sharing exists in several U.S cities. The Boulder version began in 1997 as Little Red Car Co-op. By 2009, it had grown into a nonprofit called eGo CarShare, to reflect expansion to Denver. There are about 1,100 participants.
“Some organizations are like a rental company because they buy the cars for member use,” says Karen Worminghaus, executive director of eGo CarShare. “We may be the first to use the peer-to-peer method — we lease some vehicles from members and keep the title for the lease period. CarShare is responsible for the maintenance, insurance, even gas, repairs and tires.”
There are 17 Boulder vehicles and eight in Denver, with a pickup truck in each fleet. Boulder’s lineup includes donated or loaned older economy cars.
All vehicles are in good shape, and accessible at designated locations. Members go online to locate and reserve a vehicle. A gas card is provided for fill-ups.
Boulder resident Jane Enterline says her family needed a second car, but it was hard to justify the expenses of infrequent use. So she bought a 2007 Honda Fit about a month ago and leased it to CarShare for two years. It’s parked in front of her house with the CarShare logo displayed on the sides. She also uses it by reservation, but her membership is free.
“They even clean it for me!” says Enterline. “Of course, you have to plan ahead; no just jumping in on impulse. So long as you don’t need a car for a regular commute, it’s a great deal.”
There is a one-time $25 application fee to participate, then a sliding rental fee, depending on how frequent the usage planned — from weekly to a few times a year. All other expenses, even gas and insurance, are covered.
Another program for reducing the environmental burden is run by the City of Boulder. The Driven to Drive Less campaign debuted in August and has 249 participants who forego driving at least once a week. They’re eligible for discounts and other perks from local sponsors such as The Sink, Noodles & Company, Full Cycle and Fresh Produce Sportswear.
For participant Aaron Kennedy, founder of Noodles & Company, the biggest benefit is personal.
“I’ve always been a bit of a bikecommuting zealot,” Kennedy says.
“When we moved outside of Boulder, I began to work from home. It reduced my biking considerably. Now I’ve got more incentive to leave the car behind and run my errands by bicycle.”
The program allows him to use his car on his “off ” day when necessary. His family can be supportive without being forced to participate.
“My kids are old enough to share driving a car,” Kennedy says. “I’d rather they be persuaded by my example than having to participate because I do.”
For more information, visit www.carshare.org or www.drivento driveless.com.