There are undoubtedly too many cars on the road–too many single-user cars that is. There is a growing trend, however, towards carsharing. Carsharing is similar to car rental with the main differences being you can use the carsharing vehicle for as little as a half-hour and the cars are located in the communities rather than at a central car rental location. In short, carsharing serves as a unique cross between a rental car and cab service. This implies that urban dwellers across the Eastern seaboard, Seattle, Chicago, Vancouver, Toronto and even London can take part in an environmental alternative to owning a car.
As a former car owner, I know the need for mobility-independence–the ability to leave the city on a whim; however, as a steward of the environment, I also understand the need to reduce, when possible, my carbon foot print. Well, I recently found a resource that helps to achieve a frequently sought after balance between wanting/needing a car and wanting/needing to help the environment: the Zip-Car.
Zip-Car is a membership based car haring service that includes gas, insurance, maintenance, and 180 miles of free driving. Membership fees vary based on the how you plan to use the vehicle but are generally less expensive than renting car. The fees are considerably lower if you are a student or part of business that takes advantage of the Zip-Cars business-friendly plans.
There are other programs that are starting to pop up, such as Connect by Hertz, but Zip car is still the market leader in the US for now.