Can car sharing help us all save money and reduce our carbon footprint?

Emily Kerr a Councillor for the Green Party in Oxford certainly thinks so. Emily gave a talk to the Watlington Climate Action Group on how car sharing can be done in practice. She is speaking from experience having started a “closed loop” car share scheme for her neighbours in Oxford.

There is no doubt that living in a rural community in Oxfordshire is very different from living in Oxford City Centre in terms of transport links. Many of us will certainly continue to need a private car but often many families have more than one car. That second car is often under-utilised. And with car ownership costing an estimated £10/day in the UK, (taking into account servicing, insurance, MOT and depreciation) that adds up to a whopping £3,600 a year. If you don’t use a car much that’s very expensive! So it makes sense to hire a local car that’s otherwise just sitting on a driveway.

So how does it work in practice? There are different ways of car sharing but this talk focused on the model Emily has used. It works like Airbnb but for cars. Owners lease their cars at a rate that they decide. It is managed through the company Hiyacar and their online platform. Emily showed us the app, which was very simple to use. Cars have to be less than 15 years old and certain expensive cars are excluded due to insurance reasons.

As an owner, you are completely in control of who you rent to and when. Owners set the hourly fee and insurance is charged on top of this. The person renting must be between 23 and 73 years old. You can set a number of criteria, for example, if you are happy to have dogs in your car. You can decide on whether to be in a “closed loop” and how big that loop is. A “closed loop” is when you just car share with your street or local area. Alternatively, you can make it completely public. As a car owner, you decide what works best for you.

By renting out your car you can recoup some of the costs of car ownership, and for those renting a car, this can save huge amounts of money. People often choose to move to hire a second car when the time comes to repair or replace one, or they can release the money tied up in their second car.

The other big benefit is in reducing carbon emissions. Between 25% and 50% of a car’s lifetime emissions are in the manufacturing of the car. So reducing the number of cars we own can make a big difference. Then there are other benefits such as fewer cars on our streets which has benefits for the whole community.

• To register just download the hiyacar app on your smartphone and get going.

• Find some people willing to share cars less than 15 years old

• Create a ‘closed loop’ if you want to - email eleonore.kuentz@hiyacar.co.uk with a picture of the map and where you want the boundary.


If you have any questions please google Share Our Cars or email Emily at shareourcars@gmail.com


Let us know how you get on at watlingtonclimateaction@gmail.com



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