Early this month, California passed AB 1871 – a first-in-the-nation bill that will allow private car owners to rent out their cars as part of a car-sharing fleet without losing their personal auto insurance. AB 1871 was one of few bills that see strong bipartisan support.
While companies like ZipCar and City Car Share have been operating in California for a long time (and in other states), the US has yet to reap the real benefits of car sharing. The UK’s WhipCar, on the other hand, saw a dramatic jump from 30 to 600 personal rental cars in a matter of months, simply by targeting the cash-strapped and/or car-less population. Personal car sharing seems like a win-win-win: car owners can help offset the costs of car ownership; car-less citizens get the convenience of ownership without the full costs; and the environment (both physical and natural) benefits from fewer cars on the road. According to a report from SPUR, San Francisco’s non-profit car-share company, City CarShare, will begin leveraging the new law January 1st, when they’ll facilitate private vehicles joining the fleet through its website.