City of Chicago to save $400,000 by using Zipcars

Chicago joins New York in switching to car-sharing for some of its transportation needs. Under the agreement that Chicago signed with Zipcar in March, the City will pay an hourly rate of $5.95 for use of a vehicle, which includes fuel, maintenance, and insurance. The city expects that this will allow the City to remove more than 100 vehicles from service by the end of the year, with a savings of more than $400,000 in fuel and maintenance costs throughout 2011 and 2012. Zipcar anticipates making over 500 Zipcars available in Chicago for citywide government use — including 75 cars stationed downtown. “Car sharing will further our ongoing efforts to reduce expenses by enabling several employees from various departments and shifts to use the same vehicle,” said Department of Fleet Management Commission Pat Harney. “This Zipcar program will produce both immediate and long-term savings in vehicle purchase costs, fuel, and maintenance.”

The benefits include more than just money: “According to a Frost & Sullivan report, depending on total distance driven, a car-sharing program can save members up to 70 percent of their total transportation costs. In addition to cost benefits, the same report found that on average in North America, each car shared replaces 15 cars on the road. Because vehicle miles traveled per driver is reduced almost 50 percent when car owners switch to car sharing, the change reduces CO2 emissions and resulted in 482,000 fewer tons emitted in 2009 alone.”