Avoid Carmageddon: Five reasons to rent rather than own a car

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Opting for cheap rental cars has many advantages over long-term car ownership. And we’re not just saying that to get you to rent one. The facts speak for themselves. Here are some good reason to favor renting.

1. To reduce congestion

 

Saf’ / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

 

Space on this planet, believe it or not, is NOT infinite. Yet our overwhelming desire to get into our own vehicle, along with our continuing gravitation towards cities, is creating alarming urban gridlock. By 2035, the world is predicted to have 800 million vehicles on the road, twice the current number. And, by mid-century, it is estimated that up to 75 per cent of the world’s population will be living in cities.

This creates the prospect of even more traffic in our cities. That means real practical problems in getting to work and supplying food and essential goods. Remember the recent 11-day traffic jam in China? Is this the way ahead? It will be if we all own cars and use them every day. Ironically, William Ford, current executive chairman of Ford Motor Company and great-grandson of legendary car-maker Henry Ford, believes that action is imperative to prevent a humanitarian crisis: “We see global gridlock as an issue of human rights, not just one tied to business and economics,” he says.

Rent a car for just a few days a week and it will alleviate the burden. Think of the environment. Think green.

2. Save money

Try to make do without a car for most of the week if you live in a city and watch yourself save the pennies. The American Automobile Association recently estimated the annual cost of owning a vehicle at about 9000 dollars, based on an assumption of 15,000 miles of annual driving. Use public transport most days and you won’t have to worry about paying for petrol. You will also save on wear and tear costs associated with owning a car; New York drivers can easily spend between 50 to 200 dollars a month on car maintenance alone.

 

Michel Filion / Foter / CC BY-ND

 

If you rent a car and it breaks down, then the car rental company has to help you. Plus you are putting mileage on a rented vehicle, not your own, and renting a car has a set charge, so you know all the costs from the beginning. Try just using a rented car on weekends, for trips out of town or to big stores.

 

3. Upgrade on special occasions

If you don’t own a car and only want one for that special occasion, then you can choose a cool model for that prestigious business convention or that high-class jamboree in the Hamptons. Or perhaps you would like a bigger car than you would normally buy (or could afford) to drive all the children to that camping trip or sporting occasion? A rental car can convey a special image and allows you to experiment with new models. Even with cheap rental cars, you will be driving a new or nearly new vehicle.

 

IceNineJon / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

 

4. Owning a car restricts you

Own a car and the tendency is for all travel to be within driving distance. Imagine the following scenario. You live in New York and you have to attend a convention in Charleston. If you own a car you may be tempted to drive all the way to Charleston. You arrive frazzled and you never had the chance to do the reading you wanted to do in preparation. If you rent a car, you can fly to South Carolina and then hire a car.

And rather than having to worry about your own car back home, why not dispense with it altogether? A rented car also takes you to places you often don’t normally go to. Hire that special car – a jeep or SUV – and you can deal with that treacherous terrain and venture to places off your usual beaten track.

 

5. Get fit

Do you really need a car all the time? You may instinctively say “yes”. But it’s not a good idea to get too dependent on your car. I remember some bulky neighbor of mine who lived in the same block as me, but several hundred meters down the street, once driving to my home for an engagement. All of 300 meters!

Do you really need the car to make that trip to the grocers to get a few items? Just try walking to work or to the deli. When you abandon your sedentary lifestyle, you will get fitter…and the roads will get lighter!

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