Could Joining a Car Club Save you Money and Reduce your Emissions?

Car clubs provide a viable alternative to those who only need to use a car occasionally, but how exactly do they work, and could they work for you?

car club

While owning a car and using it day to day is considered the norm for most of us, the environmental implications of this kind of lifestyle are huge. Some of us even end up paying to buy, insure, tax and run a car that we only need to use occasionally, seemingly with no better alternative. Since the early 2000s, car clubs have been set up to provide a viable alternative to those who only need to use a car occasionally, or those who are trying to reduce their car use. But how exactly do they work, and could they work for you?

 What do car clubs do?

 Individual car clubs are run across the country and allow you to book and borrow a car for a set amount of time. Websites such as www.carplus.org.uk make it easier to locate local car clubs and consolidates all the information needed to start using the club’s cars. Using the website, you can book a local car, unlock it, drive it for anything from an hour to a weekend, paying an hourly rate, then return it to the same spot, letting you only pay for the amount of time you actually need to use the car.

 How can you benefit from joining a car club?

 Joining a car club gives you the freedom to make journeys by car when you need to, without the responsibility of owning your own car and paying all the costs which come with it. Joining a car club means:

  • Not having to pay outright for a car that you may not need for more than a few trips a year

  • Saving money by not having to insure or pay road tax on your own car

  • Being free of worry about costly car maintenance, annual MOTs and other vehicle upkeep

  • Being able to see an exact breakdown of the costs of your journey without any surprises being thrown in

  • Overall, joining a car club has been shown to save money for drivers with a lower annual mileage. According to www.carplus.org.uk, a driver who covers 6-8,000 miles a year can expect to save up to £3,500 annually.

 Environmental benefits

 Choosing to join a car club is a great idea if you want to make your car use more eco friendly, and has a wide range of environmental benefits:

  • Rethinking your need for a car- by having to pre-plan your journey when using a car club vehicle, you can reassess whether a journey is necessary, prioritize journeys and make the effort to get more things done in one journey instead of a few separate ones

  • Cars used and run by car clubs tend to be newer and more fuel efficient, with lower emissions, and hybrid cars are also available. This makes newer, less polluting cars available to those who may not normally be able to afford them and keeps older, dirtier cars off the road

  • Being a member of a car club increases the likelihood of people using public transport for their everyday journeys, or zero-emission transport such as walking or cycling

  • Local car clubs can help to reduce congestion in the area, free up areas used for parking and improve local air quality

 Business owner? Car clubs could help you too

 A car club can also bring a number of benefits to businesses which require their staff to use their own cars to travel and commute. Using your own cars for business can become expensive, as can rebating staff who use their own as part of their job. A better option is becoming a corporate member of a car club and having a fleet of cars nearby which staff can book to use as and when is needed. This offers you and your staff a number of benefits:

  • Newer, greener cars with a greater fuel efficiency and lower emissions, with hybrid cars also an option

  • Online booking system for staff to reserve cars makes them more likely to only make essential trips

  • No maintenance costs to worry about or loss of money through depreciation

  • Providing a car for use at work makes it easier for employees to use more sustainable transport for their daily commute, such as using public transport, walking or cycling

  • Account statements itemise all costs of travelling by car club vehicle, making it easier to keep track of expenses and to ensure no hidden surprises

  • Opportunity to significantly decrease your business’ emissions, giving your environmental credentials a serious boost

Image sourced: Andy Roberts

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