From Portland Afoot
Carsharing is the notion that low-car households can save money by owning fewer cars and instead renting autos by the hour, the minute or the mile. It was pioneered in 1998 by Car Sharing Portland, the first commercial carsharing service in the United States.
The City of Portland was also the country's first local government to offer free on-street public parking spaces to carsharing companies. This has since become a key subsidy supporting the commercial carsharing business in some cities, though Portland no longer offers it.
Carsharing differs from car rental because it is designed and priced for relatively short errands and routine trips rather than long excursions. Carsharing companies typically place cars directly in the community rather than at business locations. This makes it convenient for more people to use the cars on a day-to-day basis.
 Car-sharing in Portland
With nearly one shared car per 1,000 residents as of March 2012, Portland was arguably the world capital of carsharing. It was also the only major U.S. city with more major carsharing options than professional sports teams.
See the following pages for links to car locations, pricing and information about ongoing local promotions.
- Zipcar, the successor to Car Sharing Portland, operates about 200 shared cars in the Portland area. These cars live at more or less fixed locations and are returned to their space after each rental. The minimum rental length is one hour, with further increments of 30 minutes available.
- Car2go operates about 250 shared cars in the Portland area. These cars have no fixed location and can be parked for free anywhere in the Car2go home area. You can find the closest one on the company's website, by telephone, or by smartphone app. These cars rent by the minute, with no minimum rental length or late fees.
- Getaround, a personal carsharing service, offers several hundred privately owned cars whose owners have made them available for hourly rental. Vehicle rates are set by the owners, and include insurance but not gas. This service, which expanded to Portland thanks to a federal grant that began in early 2012, is ideal for less dense neighborhoods and as a replacement for corporate car fleets.
- RelayRides, another personal carsharing service that does not maintain a Portland office, nonetheless has some vehicles registered in the Portland area.
- WeCar, offered by Enterprise Rent-a-Car, serves Oregon State University in Corvallis and the University of Oregon in Eugene.
- blog about carsharing by Dave Brook, the founder of Car Sharing Portland
- Reuters piece about Zipcar's 2011 IPO, including Frost & Sullivan's projection that North American carsharing revenue will grow 1300% from 2009 to 2016
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