Study: Car-sharing reduces pollution, cars – The San Diego Union-Tribune

Posted: Monday, July 25, 2016

A new study of car sharing networks in San Diego and four other cities shows they’ve reduced pollution and taken thousands of cars off the street in recent years by filling in the small gaps faced by those who commute using mass transit or bicycling.   

The study focused on car sharing offered by car2Go because that company allows people to pick up a car in one place and drop it off elsewhere, unlike some other car share providers that require cars to be picked up and dropped off in the same place. That allows commuters to use the network to eliminate the “last mile” problem.

In San Diego, each of car2go’s 400 vehicles removed an estimated seven vehicles from San Diego’s roads, or more than 3,000 vehicles total. In 2015, car2go reduced overall vehicle miles traveled in San Diego by an estimated 20 million miles.

Car sharing is a key element of the city’s ambitious climate action plan, which aims to cut carbon emissions in half by 2035.

The first-of-its kind study, which was conducted by the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at the University of California at Berkeley, showed slightly greater effects in the other cities surveyed: Vancouver, Calgary, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

In 2015, car2go eliminated an estimated 146 million vehicle miles traveled in the five cities combined, and each vehicle, on average, removed 11 cars from local roads.

Each car2go vehicle eliminated between 10 and 14 metric tons of air pollution or greenhouse gases, which equates to preventing about 39,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases from polluting the air in those cities.

Car2go made San Diego the only North American city with an all-electric fleet when it launched service here five years ago, increasing the local network’s role in preventing pollution and greenhouse gases.

But company officials decided this spring that an electric model was unsustainable and switched all of their vehicles to gas-powered in May.

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