Top 10 Cities For Car Sharing
As the latest Department of Energy numbers indicate, fuel prices have been inching steadily upward since early January and have hit a nationwide average of almost $3.80. Take it out to the West Coast and you're already looking at more than $4 a gallon.
Meanwhile, car use is slowly inching down as the days of $2 gas seem like a pipe dream and peak oil looks more imminent. The share of new cars being bought by Americans between 18 and 34 is down 30% in the past five years, according to auto pricing site Edmunds.com. A Pew Research Center study notes that people under 35 bought 12% fewer cars than they did in 2010.
Think it's just an economic anomaly? A remnant of the recession? Guess again. The Department of Transportation notes that just 28% of 16-year-olds had driver's licenses in 2010, with just 45% of 17-year-olds claiming the same. That's plummeted from 50% and 66% respectively in 1978.
Overall, as DC Streets Blog and the Frontier Group and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund point out, Americans are driving roughly 6% fewer miles than they were in 2004. That's partially, as Census Bureau data shows, because more people are living in cities than they were a decade ago. It's also because fewer Americans want to put up with the $818 a year in lost time and gas money sucked away by the average commute, according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute's Urban Mobility Report.
So what do these newly urbanized, auto averse Americans do when life requires them to move something across town, go on a big shopping run or get out of town to a place off a rail line for a few days? Increasingly, they share cars through new Avis Budget
WalkScore, a site dedicated to determining and rating the density of amenities and resulting "walkability" of various cities, recently compiled a list of the Top 10 car-sharing cities in the U.S. With the number of car-sharing pickup and drop-off points tallied and the most popular car-sharing neighborhoods mapped out, here's their take on the best cities for sharing cars without sharing any of the hassle of actually owning one: