The popularity of car clubs has surged in the UK over the last few years, a move that is helping to cut road pollution and reduce congestion.
Membership numbers for UK car clubs now top 630,000, more than double the figure for 2018, while shared mobility charity CoMoUK reports there are more than 6,000 car club vehicles currently in operation.
Incredibly, around three-quarters of those vehicles belong to either Zip Car or Enterprise Car Club, the two largest vehicle providers in operation.
CoMoUK has even suggested that each car club vehicle has replaced 18.5 privately-owned vehicles, meaning close to 100,000 vehicles have been taken off the road as a result.
In simple terms, car clubs provide people with access to vehicles to use on a pay-as-they-drive basis or following the payment of annual or monthly fees.
Think about the convenience of owning a vehicle, but without the running costs such as repairs, maintenance, insurance, tax, and parking.
Typically, cars can be booked through an app or online and can then be picked up from various locations – often from places that are close together to reduce any travelling if a vehicle is not available somewhere.
Small, medium, and large cars, as well as numerous vans, are accessible for drivers to use, including a range of hybrid and electric options.
Some of the driving options available include round-trips, where vehicles are returned to the pick-up point, and fixed one-way sharing options, where drivers can travel from point A to point B.
Lastly, there’s the option to pay by the hour or day, with drivers then required to return the vehicle to a suitable location when they are done using it.
Car clubs have tapped into the desire of many drivers to do their bit for the environment, as they provide a cost-effective option for those looking to cut their carbon footprint.
These types of schemes have also received backing from the government, including transport minister Rachael McClean, and they will ultimately play a pivotal role should the UK reach its zero emissions target.
Furthermore, many of the vehicles in car club fleets are relatively new – at an average age of just 1.6 years – while they’re ten times more likely to be electric than cars in private ownership.
This means they’re often more fuel-efficient, so they cost less to run while being used, and they give off lower emissions.
Removing some of the associated costs of driving, such as MOTs, insurance, and cleaning, also makes car clubs appealing to drivers, as does not need to worry about parking costs in major cities.
Ultimately, car clubs have helped to make city living cheaper, greener, and easier – all key factors behind why people are ditching their own vehicles in favour of sharing.
The range and the total number of car club vehicles continue to increase too, and even though growth was slowed slightly during the pandemic, the wider trend shows no sign of abating.
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Date Created: 31/08/2021