Got an empty right seat on your commute to back and forth to work? One way to avoid the high price of gas is to carpool, which the government has been encouraging for years through the construction of HOV lanes on highways. Americans often resist carpooling in favor of driving alone, but Europe’s Carpooling.com is having success making it work. The group says they have 3.6 million registered users with more than 2 million active monthly users.
“Single occupancy commuting is both incredibly expensive and such a waste of resources, and ridesharing reduces the cost of driving up to 75 percent and helps people to stay mobile, despite rising gas costs,” says CEO Markus Barnikel. “In 2011 alone, we’ve calculated that more than 27 million gallons of gas have been saved and 205,000 tons of CO2 were not released because of our service,” The y also claim responsibility for thousands of friendship and 10 marriages.
Like Orbitz or Travelocity, Carpooling.com organizes and allows Drivers offer empty seats and passengers book a seat online just like a flight or a train ticket. People choose who they want to ride with, how much space they need, where they want to meet, and what they’re willing to pay. In 2011, the site helped users save a combined 27 million gallons of gas and 205,000 tons of CO2 emissions.
We’ve always known that carpoolers are an environmentally-conscious bunch, but they’re also highly educated, smart consumers and very active online. The target market data collected from its 2 million monthly active users over a three-month period in 2011 and found that the average user is a 25- to 39-year-old woman with at least some higher education. 89 % of users say they pay attention to price-quality ratio when shopping and 54% are active in online forums and chats. 70% of the site’s active users are single, though that figure may dip a tick in the near future –
Unfortunately, Carpooling.com isn’t domestic & has local versions in nine countries and seven languages: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Poland and Greece.
Zip car Starts EV Car-Sharing in Chicago
Another option is to join a car-sharing network like Zipcar (NASDAQ: ZIP), which just launched a pilot electric vehicle (EV) program in Chicago.
Members can rent Chevrolet Volts by the hour at pods across the city. 350 Green is installing EV charging stations there and the Chicago Transit Authority, Tishman Speyer, LAZ Parking and Cityfront Place Apartments are providing access to cars and charging station in commercial and residential buildings, private parking lots and along the rail system. This year, the City of Chicago is installing hundreds of EV charging stations to develop infrastructure throughout the city.
Zipcar has 673,000 members and 8,900 vehicles in urban areas and college campuses throughout the US, Canada and UK. Zipcar went public last year and through a partnership with Ford, is providing $300,000 in grants for student organizations through the “Students with Drive” grant program.
For an overview of the report’s results, check out this infographic: