Car-sharing programs will surge 550% globally by 2020

Car-sharing programs will surge 550% globally by 2020

Use of car-sharing programs worldwide is growing by leaps and bounds, and a new study says membership will grow from 2.3 million in 2013 to more than 12 million by 2020.

In addition to being seen as a way to enjoy mobility without the expense and hassle of owning a car, car-sharing is viewed as a way to reduce urban congestion and lower greenhouse gas emissions, says Lisa Jerram, senior research analyst with Navigant Research, which did the study.

Car-sharing appeals to individuals as a less expensive option than private car ownership in that a driver only pays for vehicle use as needed, does not need to pay for parking, and is protected from rising operating costs, the study says.

But researchers say the growth of the market will continue to be limited by the perceived inconvenience of not owning a vehicle. And cars are still seen as symbols of status, success, privacy and freedom. Perhaps more to the point, car-sharing companies are struggling to make enough money under the current business model.

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