I signed up for Zipcar last December to test it out, but didn’t start using it in earnest until April when I sold my car. In May Stephanie and I got our Vespas for getting around the city on a whim, but we rely on Zipcar for heavy errands, day trips, and weekend adventures.
Here are some things I learned after looking over my usage in 2007. On average I made two rentals a month. Average rental time was 18 hours. Average spent per month on Zipcar was $180! Given that I only started using Zipcar in earnest in April, I’m on track to spend over $2000/year on Zipcar. Yikes!
With my “occasional driving” plan, I pay $8.75/hour, capped at $65 per 24 hours. If I would commit to spending at least $50/month, which seems like a no brainer at this point, the hourly and daily rates drop 10%. I opted against that plan initially for fear that a month might go by where I didn’t use Zipcar. However, since selling my car, that hasn’t once been the case.
$2000 a year seems like a lot without any context. Luckily last year I made a spreadsheet estimating the cost of insurance, gas, maintenance, and tax on my car (which thankfully I’d already paid off). My monthly estimate was $250. So Zipcar at $180/month (and possibly $160 if I switch plans) represents at minimum a $70/month savings—not counting parking, which almost certainly would add $250-300/month.
So in real dollars, Zipcar is saving me money, worrying about things like insurance, gas, and maintenance for me, and offering one unquantifiable benefit: a wide selection of cars to choose from, depending on my needs or whims. This year I drove 10 different cars. Next year, who knows…