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Cities realizing big benefits from Car2go car-sharing service, study funded by Daimler finds

If you live in a big city, do you even want to own a car? When parking can cost almost as much as your rent and definitely more than a car payment, the appeal fades fast. Daimler’s Car2go car-sharing service, first launched in Austin, Texas, in 2010 and now available in 30 cities around the world, is demonstrating a significant impact on city transit. The positive results were found by a study by the University of California, Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center, as reported by CNN Money.

The UC-Berkeley study, which was funded by Daimler, found measurable impacts on traffic, pollution, and parking resulting from Car2go services. Researchers polled Car2go users in Calgary, Canada; San Diego; Vancouver, British Columbia; Seattle; and the District of Columbia. The study surveyed nearly 9,500 users and included trip data provided by Car2go.

The researchers found that users drove 7 percent fewer miles using Car2go than they did previously. Computed greenhouse gas emissions levels also dropped 10 percent on average. Because Car2go members either sold their own cars or held off on buying a new car, the survey results showed that for each Car2go vehicle in a city, between seven and 11 vehicles were no longer on the road. Close to the same number of miles were traveled, but because more vehicles were being shared, many fewer cars were needed.

Car2go currently operates in nine cities in the U.S. and four in Canada. According to the company, worldwide there are 14,000 Car2go vehicles and nearly 2 million registered members. Users, who pay a one-time $35 membership fee, can rent Car2go Smart Fortwo cars by the minute, hour, or day. In the U.S., Car2go rental costs 41 cents per minute, $15 per hour, or $85 per day, plus taxes and any fees charged by local cities.

Each city has a designated operating area. When you want to rent a car, you open the Car2go smartphone app to find the closest car, which you can reserve up to 30 minutes in advance or use immediately. You unlock the car with the app, drive wherever you’re going, park it, and you’re done. You don’t need to look for special parking spots or lots — Car2g0 negotiates with cities to allow parking in any open public parking space at no charge.