The state of car ownership: generations across America believe sharing a vehicle provides greater value than owning one, according to new Zipcar survey

Zipcar challenges need for personal car ownership and its impact on cities nationwide in celebration of Car-Free Day

BOSTON, Sept. 17, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Most Americans need a car to travel virtually everywhere, but in today’s sharing economy where consumers increasingly pay for access – for movies, music and clothing – the need to own a car may be a thing of the past. A new study commissioned by Zipcar, the world’s leading car-sharing network, and conducted online by The Harris Poll among over 2,000 U.S. adults, reveals 70% of American drivers believe a car-sharing service is more economical than owning a vehicle. Roughly 7 in 10 urban (69%) and suburban (72%) drivers across the country agree that car-sharing services are more economical than owning a vehicle. This sentiment spans across drivers of all generations (65% Gen Z, 73% of Millennials, 68% of Gen X, and 69% of Boomers)1 and the benefits of living car-free, as offered through Zipcar’s model of car-sharing, could have a significant impact on city livability.

Own the Trip, Not an Unused Car
Transportation is the second-largest household expense, with most budgets devoted to purchasing, operating, and maintaining private vehicles.2 Yet, over one-third of American drivers (37%) admit they own a car that is not driven often. Studies prove the average car sits idle, parked 95% of the time.3 So, why throw money to the curb?

More than 6 in 10 American drivers (67%) believe that by only paying for a car when they need it (e.g., for commuting, shopping, or visiting family), would create newfound freedom to spend money on other things they want such as entertainment, clothing, or a vacation. American drivers across household incomes, from those making less than $50,000 (69%) to those making $100,000 or more (63%), universally upheld this belief.

With parking, insurance, gas, and maintenance provided, Zipcar reports its members spend less per month ($300 average) on transportation4 by paying per trip compared to the monthly cost ($737 average) to own a personal vehicle5 that may go unused. With extra cash in members’ pockets, Zipcar reports saving its membership approximately $5.2 billion a year6 not to mention the time and hassles associated with owning a car.

Fewer Personally Owned Cars Impacts Roads Nationwide
Owning a car may not only burn a hole in the pockets of car-owners nationwide but also can contribute to societal and environmental issues in the form of traffic. Nearly three-quarters of Americans– across genders, ages, incomes, generations, and regions – are frustrated with the amount of traffic congestion in their area (72%) and believe that if there were fewer cars on the road, there would be more opportunity to enjoy doing things in cities (73%).

Traffic decreases when less personally-owned cars are on the road; for every 1 Zipcar, up to 13 personally-owned vehicles are taken off the road7. Based on those figures, as many as 156,000 fewer cars are on city streets thanks to Zipcar’s 12,000 vehicle U.S. fleet. Additionally, according to Zipcar, car-sharing drivers directly contribute to a world where cities are easier and more enjoyable to live in by:

  • Driving 40% fewer miles than before joining a car-sharing network8
  • Biking, using public transit, or walking the same or more after joining Zipcar (40% bike, 70% transit, 80% walk)
  • Eliminating their personally-owned vehicle after joining Zipcar (54% of Zipcar members)

To learn more about the social and environmental impact of Zipcar’s car-sharing network, visit

Tracey Zhen, Zipcar President, on challenging car ownership:
“In 2000, Zipcar’s founders solved for a real need: to eliminate the cost and hassle of owning a vehicle in the city. Zipcar kickstarted the sharing economy and changes the world of car ownership every day by providing more than a million members nationwide the freedom and flexibility to access wheels when they want them. Our members own less while positively contributing to socially responsible, sustainable transportation that supports the global environment, their communities, and city livability.”

Own less. Have more. Join Zipcar.
Take charge of your errands and escapes with a free Zipcar membership! Sign up for a limited time, 30-day trial membership and save a bundle over car ownership. Reserve wheels when you want them, by the hour or day, and only pay for the time you drive - gas, insurance and maintenance, a dedicated parking spot, and up to 180 miles of driving per day included. Visit to learn more.

Survey Method: This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Zipcar from August 1-5, 2019 among 2,023 U.S. adults aged 18+, of whom 1,958 are drivers. This online survey is not based on a probability sample, and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Zipcar.

About Zipcar
Zipcar is the world’s leading car-sharing network, driven by a mission to enable simple and responsible urban living. With its wide variety of self-service vehicles available by the hour or day, Zipcar operates in urban areas and university campuses in over 500 cities and towns. Zipcar offers the most comprehensive, most convenient and most flexible car-sharing options available. Zipcar is a subsidiary of Avis Budget Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: CAR), a leading global provider of mobility solutions. More information is available at


1 For the purposes of this release, Generation Z is defined as ages 18-22, Millennials are defined as ages 23-38, Generation X is defined as ages 39-54 and Boomers are defined as ages 55-73
2 Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Transportation Economic Trends 2018.
3 Shoup, Donald. The High Cost of Free Parking. Routledge; 1 edition (June 21, 2011)
4 Zipcar 2018 National Transportation Survey
5 2018 AAA Your Driving Costs study and 2012 Colliers Parking Rate Survey.
6 Zipcar 2018 National Transportation Survey and 2018 AAA Your Driving Costs study
7 Eliot, Sheehen, Lidcker/Impact of Carsharing on Household Vehicle Holdings
8 Shaheen/Impact of Carsharing on Household Vehicle Holdings.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at:

The photo is also available via AP PhotoExpress.

PR-2884 - Zipcar photo for Release (FINAL)

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