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Peer-to-peer car sharing is a new kind of car sharing that’s starting to take hold. It marries the premise of traditional car sharing with a private owner’s underutilized vehicle.

How does it work? As a car owner, you sign up and designate when your car is available to be shared. A small device is installed in the car that will recognize a key card and keep the car locked with the keys inside. As a car borrower, you sign up and are given a card that will grant you access to the car you have registered for at a specific time.

Peer-to-peer car sharing has many possibilities. Do you own a pick-up that rarely gets used? Well, now you can make some money off of it by sharing it with families that need to haul on occasion. Or say you own an EV for short commutes or errands but you need to travel beyond its range. Now you can borrow a car for a reasonable rate.

This service will make a lot of eco-sense because it relies on cars already in circulation instead of purchasing new cars. Ultimately, it could reduce the total number of cars on the road as many drivers’ transportation needs would be met entirely by neighborhood car sharing.

There are several players in the market right now, RelayRides in Boston and Spride Share in San Francisco. Since these companies don’t need to purchase and maintain a fleet of vehicles, the rates tend to be much less that the standard car sharing services. Keep your eye out for a peer-to-peer car sharing service in your area.