NEW YORK ( MainStreet) — Your vehicle costs more to operate today than it did last year. Really. AAA recently reported a 1.96 yearly increase in car costs, meaning your sedan drains you of 60.8 cents per mile whenever it runs. The average yearly cost for operating your vehicle: $9,122.

And if that sounds like a lot, there's a possibility that you could be spending more due to rising costs, as seen in the AAA report:

For one's personal economy, these figures add to the stink exacerbated by a soft job market and sluggish macro-economy, thus, making the idea of collaborative consumption or shared ownership more appealing.

Use Of Car Sharing Grows

According to

As of July 2012, - based on data provided by Susan Shaheen at the University of California, Berkeley - 26 U.S. car sharing programs claimed 806,332 members sharing 12,634 vehicles; and 101,502 members shared 3,143 vehicles among 19 car sharing organizations in Canada. Worldwide, as of October 2012, car sharing was operating in 27 countries and five continents, accounting for an estimated 1,788,000 members sharing over 43,550 vehicles - and car sharing was planned in seven additional countries worldwide.

Car 'sharing' is little more than marketing speak, suggests Robert Firpo-Cappiello, Budget Travel 's executive editor. He sees it is a way to help this rental "phenomenon" "appeal to travelers who think divergently." Yet that is all it is: car rental by the hour (or day).

Car Sharing's Up Front Costs

The big players in the car sharing game are Zip Car, Car2Go and Hertz 24/7, with Zip Car being the most popular.

Taking (the now Avis-Budget owned) Zip Car as an example; these are the stipulations of their Occasional Driving Membership Plan:

  • a $25 application fee
  • a $50 annual fee
  • an hourly fee starting at $8.50
  • a daily fee of $69
  • Includes gas, insurance and 180 miles per day
  • The Fine Print

    Additional miles start at 45 cents and the fact insurance is included will not stop Zip Car from charging you a damage fee if an accident were to occur. Zip Car also warns potential customers to check its site for current sharing costs since rates may change due to price increases of essentials like fuel.