Six incredible car sharing benefits – even if it’s just for one day

By Jack Goddard, Senior Marketing Executive

Car sharing is a small action that can have big impacts. The many and varied benefits of car sharing often get overlooked, and yet when people do share a journey with their friends, family, colleagues or even a stranger going the same way, they often prefer it to driving alone.

If we are more aware of the car sharing benefits – both big and small – it creates the opportunity for us all to be more mindful of our commuting practices. The Mobilityways Commuter Census 2022 found that nearly a third (31%) of commuters would be open to sharing a lift, so what kind of benefits – other than making zero carbon commuting a reality – could they get from doing so?

1. Car sharing saves money

From rising fuel prices to the cost-of-living crisis, recent years have impacted the affordability of things many of us previously took for granted, including the commute. 

When you consider the cost of buying, running and maintaining a car, private car ownership is easily one of the most expensive means of getting from A to B – especially considering cars sit stationary for 95% of the time. Many have sought to reduce these costs, by renting their cars on sites like Hiyacar, or shifting from a multi-car to a single-car household

61% of commuters proclaimed to be ‘very concerned’ about rising fuel costs in the Mobilityways 2022 Census Survey. Managing your fuel consumption, by for instance only making necessary journeys and driving economically, is one way to reduce costs. Car sharing is another.

Sharing a lift is one of the easiest and most practical ways for car owners to save money on fuel without having to make drastic changes to their commuting behaviour. Millions of people make the same journeys as our co-workers every day: In fact, 91% of UK employees could share a lift with a colleague.

Sharing a journey is half as expensive and twice as efficient as driving alone. And of course, the more people you share with, the cheaper it gets. There are around 32 million empty seats on UK roads every rush hour, representing a huge amount of potential savings for commuters. And it’s not only drivers who can benefit.

Car sharing supports others to enjoy the convenience of a car without the cost. This can be a critical lifeline for the many people facing fuel poverty, as public transport fares continue to rise despite dwindling services.

Even though remote and hybrid working may have changed the ‘if’, ‘when’ and regularity of our commuting behaviours, it’s important to consider the ‘how’ when we do travel to the office. For example, Mobilityways’ Commutologists calculated that the average commute costs around £7.50 a day. This equates to a saving of £1,950 a year if you share a car to work every day. How much could you save?

Sharing a lift is one of the easiest and most practical ways for car owners to save money on fuel without having to make drastic changes to their commuting behaviour.

2. Car sharing is good for your wellbeing

Whether you’re sharing a problem or a cheesy garlic bread, sharing is good for our wellbeing. Car sharing is no different. 44% of people who use the free online car sharing community, believe sharing their journeys has improved their wellbeing. 

This boost in wellbeing is multifaceted, in part attributed to the financial savings detailed above, particularly when money is tight. Over the last 20 years, has seen spikes in usage correlating to periods of economic hardship. Reduced financial pressure equates to less stress, resulting in improved wellbeing.

In addition to the easing of financial worries, many sharers value the social aspect of car sharing. This is something that Liftshare users Tina

and Dom found when they started to share their journey to work together each morning. Tina said:

“Car sharing works great for us. It’s nice to have a chat in the morning before starting work. Dom works later than I do, so it’s always good to catch up on what’s gone on the day before. It’s become part of our daily ritual and a welcome routine.”

Whether it’s connecting with a like-minded stranger en route to a music festival or chewing the fat with a colleague on the journey home after a long day, car sharing has birthed many friendships over long and short distances.

3. Car sharing is beneficial to local communities

If we can increase the number of people in cars, the number of cars on the road will decrease. This is hugely beneficial for a number of reasons, with one of the biggest being less congestion.

Traffic plagues our towns and cities, which is frustrating for drivers and dangerous for pedestrians – more than 5,000 pedestrians were seriously injured in 2021. Pollution generated by high volumes of traffic can also impact our respiratory health, worsening conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD). If more of us share, we can reduce localised congestions and the associated emissions.

Cars also take up a lot of space. Not only do they sideline other more sustainable transport modes on our roads, but they indiscriminately crowd school gates, mount the curbs outside our homes, and hog valuable real estate thanks to the requirement for multi-storey car parks throughout our towns and cities.

When we choose to share, we reduce the burden on our local infrastructure. Imagine a world where parents aren’t forced to push prams into the road to avoid parked cars, children can cross the street safely outside of school, and more people can visit local shops and facilities.

According to transport analytics company INRX, UK drivers spend an average of 44 hours a year searching for parking. This is at a cost of £733 in fuel, on top of the extra time spent and emissions caused.

4. Car sharing saves time

How often have you done a lap around a car park only to leave defeated and frustrated? In a world where single-occupancy-vehicle commutes are the norm, parking infrastructure is largely oversubscribed. 

According to transport analytics company INRX, UK drivers spend an average of 44 hours a year searching for parking. This is at a cost of £733 in fuel, on top of the extra time spent and emissions caused. Not only is this a shocking waste of our valuable time, but a big issue for employers. Two thirds of employees proclaimed to be stressed about workplace parking, damaging employee engagement and driving attrition.

Thanks to the efforts of organisations like CoMoUK, there is now increased awareness of the social, economic and environmental benefits of shared transport. This has seen many large employers, local authorities and other public amenities incentivising employees and visitors to car share – and dedicated parking bays for sharers have proved an effective means to do it.

Moving towards a sharing economy model could see dedicated car-share bays become the norm. Encouraging more people to pursue a car share commute on a more regular basis could make fruitlessly hunting for a parking space a thing of the past.

5. Car sharing opens up new job opportunities

Many large employers are eschewing expensive city-centre offices for business parks on the outskirts of towns and cities. While some of these sites are served by public transport, others aren’t, limiting the talent pool for employers and putting off job seekers who wouldn’t be able to travel to the office with ease. 

Unlike public transport, which has fixed routes and schedules, car sharing offers employees a greater degree of flexibility. You’re able to connect with others working on site, coordinating regular or ad-hoc car-sharing arrangements to benefit all parties. 

Employers who implement formalised car-share communities can access a wider talent pool, and boost engagement by offering their team a valuable employee benefit. You can learn more about what leading industrial logistics buildings provider, Prologis, did to drive customer and employee engagement through sustainable commuting here.

6. Car sharing is more sustainable

The way we live, work and travel generates greenhouse gases, which in turn causes global warming. As a result, we’re seeing the impact of climate change more often, with freak weather events, floods, fires and droughts on our news streams with alarming regularity. The sad truth is, doing something as seemingly innocuous as driving your car continues to contribute to climate change.

Categorised as Scope 3 emissions, commuting emissions account for 5% of the UK’s total output – 18 billion kg of CO2e annually. We all have a responsibility to reduce our environmental impacts. Sharing a lift with someone making the same journey as you is an easy way to do it.

According to their Local Authority Toolkit, the Department for Transport calculated that ‘increasing car occupancy from current levels of 1.55 people to 1.7 could save nearly 3 million tonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year by 2030 – roughly equivalent to that currently emitted from all UK buses in a year.

Sharing’s caring – start now

Whatever your motivations, car sharing benefits people and the planet. It’s an easy and effective way to get around, saving you time, money and effort – and if you’re lucky, you might even make a friend!  If you’re ready to explore car sharing, register on to connect with like-minded people making the same journeys as you.

Are you an employer looking to help your team Commute Back Better? Check out the Mobilityways solution and start making progress towards your net-zero goals while boosting employee engagement.

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Car usage and the changing face of the commute

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