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Do you really need to own a car? Given that we live in a road-oriented society, you probably do need a car – but do you need to own it?

Rental and shared cars have made their mark on society. Zipcar has gained a lot of popularity over the past few years, and has even expanded overseas. It makes sense; carsharing not only saves money but is good for the environment – really what’s not to like? And now the concept of renting or sharing a car is expanding as well. It’s even getting classy, with BMW’s recent experiment in upscale car rentals.

Although they are not widely available, websites like are following suit and taking the first steps towards widespread shared vehicle ownership. Other companies are bringing their own ideas into the mix, like RelayRides, which allows car owners to rent their car to others in the area. This means if you own a car you can make some money sharing it when you’re not using it, and if you don’t own a car but need one infrequently you have a cheaper alternative to buying your own car. Relay Rides is only available in Boston and San Francisco, but other websites, like, offer their services to anyone who wants to sign up. The Getaround FAQ page also answers some good questions, like what to do if you get pulled over, who pays for gas, etc.

With increasing gas prices and “green consciousness,” it’s not surprising to see companies like Zipcar and Car2Go popping up more frequently. The concept is simple, effective, and affordable. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes common, too.