Why own a car if you don’t have to? It’s a question a lot of people are asking, these days. The reality is that car ownership is expensive and can be as high as thousands of dollars per year in payments, insurance, gas, and maintenance. If you live in an area with good public transportation you might have already ditched your car. Still, even with the best public transport there are going to be days when you want or need the freedom that comes with driving yourself around. That’s where carsharing comes in. Instead of renting a car, carsharing allows you to use a car for as little as an hour to as long as a week, or more. The carshare companies available to you will depend on your location. That said, if you live in a major city you have a variety of carshare companies from which to choose. If you want to know the best carsharing service for you, keep reading because we’re about to go through some of the most popular options.
Rather than break these up into different categories, this carsharing comparison will offer highlights from some of the best carsharing services in most major cities. We’ll look at who has the best carsharing app, who has the lowest prices, and the best carsharing services overall. Hopefully this carsharing comparison will help you find the best carsharing service for you! Keep in mind, one size doesn’t fit all. You might find that signing up to more than one service is what works for you. If that’s the case, as long as you’re taken care of and are able to get where you need to go, that’s all that matters!
The Best Carsharing Service for College Students – Zipcar
You can read our Zipcar review, here. Like with most carsharing services, when you sign up, Zipcar will check your driving record to ensure that you’re a suitable driver. As long as your record is fairly clean you should be approved quickly. That said, Zipcar reserves the right to approve or decline whoever they want. Not only is Zipcar one of the best carsharing services around, it’s also the oldest.
Specifics for Zipcar
- A $25 application fee applies (you get a $25 credit with this link)
- Multiple memberships and fees are available, most with a $70 annual fee
- Small and large vehicles are available including vans
- Reservation fees from an hour to as long as a week
- Price varies based on car selection, day, and location
- Up to 180 miles per day allowed without added fees
- 24/7 roadside assistance, gas, and insurance included
- Some feel Zipcar has the best carsharing app available
- Excellent customer service
- Rates starting at less than $10 per hour
The Best Carsharing Service for Small Trips – Car2Go
While Car2Go is great for trips of all sizes, they differ from a lot of carsharing companies because they allow you to reserve a car by the minute instead of by the hour. You’re only being charged for the amount of time you use the car and that’s down to the minute. The only major downside to Car2Go is that it’s not in as many cities as Zipcar. In fact, it’s much smaller. You will find Car2Go in many major cities though and this will continue to grow as carsharing numbers continue to rise.
Specifics for Car2Go
- No member or application fees
- Reservations made by the minute
- Drop off your vehicle anywhere in the home zone
- Instant reservations are available. Just choose a car and go!
- Gas and insurance is included with the reservation
- Roadside assistance is included
- Rates vary but are around $0.40 per minute, $15 per hour, or $85 per day
- While there is a $5 signup fee, you get a $10 credit which erases the cost
The Best Carsharing Service for Car Selection – Enterprise Car Share
While Zipcar offers as many as 50 makes and models, Enterprise Car Share also has a large fleet of available options. Some carshare services do not offer larger vehicles. Enterprise realizes that not all people are driving for the same reasons. With that in mind, some locations offer electric cars and others offer hybrids. You can also get luxury vehicles, sedans, and SUVs. Cargo vans and pickups are also available.
Specifics for Enterprise Car Share
- Cars should be dropped off to the pickup location
- Rates vary by location but can be lower than some competitors
- Large vehicle selection
- Gas and insurance included with all vehicles
- 180 daily miles allowed
- Available at numerous airports
- Application fees in some cities
- Hourly fees range based on day and location but can range from $8 to $18
- Member card unlocks the vehicle
- 3 hours is required for cancellations
The Best Carsharing Service for Tech Fans – Maven
Maven offers a more connected experience. The Maven app is supposed to control most functions from honking the horn to GPS and On Star. They offer vehicles of all sizes, so whatever you need, you should have a vehicle option. The biggest issue with Maven is that it is limited in terms of locations. They are available in a select amount of US cities, but you can expect they will grow as time goes on.
Specifics for Maven
- Cars need to be picked up and returned from the same station
- Maven is all about the app – use it to reserve a vehicle, extend your trip, cancel it, or even to unlock the car
- Book a reservation for as little as an hour to as much as 28 days
- Mileage allowance of 180 miles daily.
- Cancellations require 24-hour notice
- If less than ¼ tank, fill up it up with the available gas card – All gas is included
- Insurance is also included
- App includes an “extend” button to extend a reservation so you don’t suffer late fees
- Prices vary but start in the $7 to $9/hour range
For many, the best carsharing service is going to depend on what services are available in your location and how much you’re interested in paying. All of these services offer benefits that make them worth considering. You may find that you want to try and even have a membership to more than one of them. Zipcar is the most widely available service, though the others are beginning to enter more markets all the time. Give the services in your area a try and you’ll quickly find the right one for you. Don’t forget to visit Zipcar and get your $25 in credits!