Zipcar – An Alternative to Car Ownership and Car Rental


With Zipcar, it is like somebody hands you the keys to thousands of vehicles around the world and gives you access 24/7. And, with the added benefit of not having to worry about paying for insurance or gas.

Zipcar started in Cambridge, Massachusetts as the founders brought the European car-sharing idea to the states. They believe that it is important to let people realize why vehicles, congestion, and pollution are a problem. They believe sustainable solutions are important and that it is people that make change a reality.



In the City of Los Angeles, there are a total number of 2,499,764 registered vehicles; of those, 1,977,803 are automobiles.  In Los Angeles County, there are 5,484,606 automobiles, 123,669 motorcycles, and 1,068,213 commercial vehicles.

According to the 2005 U.S. Census data for the City of Los Angeles, 52% of workers who work outside of the home spend less than half an hour commuting to work; 12% spend an hour or more commuting to work, with the average commute time was 29.6 minutes.

According to the Texas Transportation Institute, in 2003, people traveling on the roadways in Los Angeles/Orange counties experienced a total of 93 hours of delay per person, the highest among the metropolitan areas in the nation.

Can you imagine a million less vehicles on the road?  Zipcar believes it can happen.  Their goal is to reduce the dependency on personally-owned vehicles in order to reduce congestion, pollution, dependency on oil, and have cleaner air.

Zipcar Mazda 3

Zipcar Mazda 3
Photo Credit: Zipcar


Green Benefits

  • Convenient and actionable way of sustainable living, which reduces the harmful effects of transportation.
  • For every Zipcar, there are 20 less personally-owned vehicles off the road.  20 x 9,000 vehicle in the Zipcar fleet = 180,000 potential vehicles off the road.
  • 90% of Zipcar members drove 5,500 miles or less per year.  This equates to 32 million gallons of crude oil (219 gallons per Zipcar vehicle).
  • Members save over $500 (vs. car ownership) per month.
  • As 10% of the population is expected to adopt car sharing, that equates to millions of people saving billions of dollars in gas an oil costs.
  • Universities benefit by green initiatives, campus congestion, while ensuring student have a cost-effective transportation solution.


Cost to join

  • One-time $25 application fee
  • Annual fee of $60
  • No deposit
  • No monthly commitment
  • You can add other drivers to your account for $25 application fee and $25 annual fee
  • There may be other options based on your location, if you are a university student, or a business.


Cost to drive

  • Depending on the car model
  • Drive from $8/hr or $72/day (any 24-hour period) during the week and $9/hr or $79/day on weekends
  • Gas, insurance, and 180 free miles are included

Zipcar App

How to join and use

Apply Online.  It usually takes a few hours to be approved.  Once approved, you will receive a Zipcard, which gives you access to any Zipcar in the USA, Canada, and UK.  The Zipcard needs to be activated.

Once your Zipcard is activated, you can reserve Zipcars by calling 1-866-4ZIPCAR, on your mobile, or on the website.  You can choose your ride by nearby location, available time, price, or model.

Pick up the vehicle that was reserved, use the Zipcard to unlock the vehicle, drive, and return the vehicle to the same location by the end of the reserve time.

See all Frequently Asked Questions.


Member benefits

Besides a choice of vehicles, members enjoy discounts at other retailers, such as Beauty Collection, FABIOLUS cucina Italiana Verona, Frog Frozen Yogurt, Medieval Times, roomorama™, Kimpton hotels & restaurants, and Montague Bikes.


The next time you look at the BMW or the hybrid Ford Fusion next to you on the road; know that you can be one of the Zipcar members that have the choice to pick your vehicle.  To find a Zipcar near you visit

To learn more about car sharing:  Car Sharing:  Sustainable, Reliable, and Affordable



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