Car sharing isn’t only convenient, it’s good for the planet too


 |  The Starfish

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Car sharing isn’t only convenient and trendy, it’s also transforming how many people commute while benefiting our environment.

Modo was born in British Columbia in 1997 to serve the population a more affordable transportation option. Since, they have done their part to serve the local communities of Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, and Kelowna and reduce overall traffic congestion, GHGs, and the increasing need for more parking lots.

Starting at just $4/hour, no argument needs to be made for the financial benefits that car-sharing networks like Modo offer. Users don’t have to worry about car payments, insurance, or soaring gas prices. With the average cost of car ownership coming close to $10,000 per year, Modo is a relief for Vancouverites and beyond.

The accessibility of picking up a Modo vehicle right outside your building’s doorstep, the free parking, and the on-demand availability are a communal luxury. Car sharing has become a no-brainer for city-dwellers.

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What many people sometimes overlook is the significant environmental benefits that car-sharing also provides. Car sharing assists environmental initiatives by decreasing driving and fuel emissions, and encouraging healthy habits and electric alternatives. 

It’s providing a lot more of the good stuff that our planet needs, like more city parks, bike lanes and electric vehicles, and decreasing the icky stuff that threatens our environment, like fossil fuel emissions and excessive driving.

Car sharing provides less of stuff that causes environmental problems:

  • Less Cars
  • Less Emissions + Pollution
  • Less Driving Overall

And more great things that make our communities sustainable and eco-friendly:

  • More Green Space
  • More Walking + Biking
  • More Electric Cars

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Car Sharing Inspires Healthier Lifestyles

A study in Oregon found that people who car share tend to opt for public transit, walking and biking instead of driving when possible. 

It may be because users are more conscious of their vehicle usage since they pay for it as they go, rather than a reliance through ownership. Research has also found that car sharers drive 15-20% less than non-sharers. Less driving means fewer emissions.

Car sharing inspires people to be more thoughtful of their transportation and this can encourage the city to develop more bike lanes, carless roads, and more public transit. With fewer cars on the road and lower parking development demands, cities can establish more community green spaces. 

If more cars diminish from the roads, eventually parking lots could be replaced with trees, grass, gardens, and more nature. Not only does this promote community well-being, it also cleans the city air. 

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Fewer Cars, Fewer Problems

With car sharing becoming increasingly popular, fewer people are buying their vehicle now, resulting in fewer cars are on the road. For every car provided, Modo has been able to take 9-13 private vehicles off the road, and on average, its members have gotten rid of 1 or 2 of their vehicles since membership. 

A study from the Netherlands in 2017 showed that car ownership dropped 30% amongst those part of a car-sharing network. Modo also shares that on average, their members own .31 cars per family compared to Vancouver’s which is 1.6 on average. 

On the surface, this is beneficial because roads are less congested and parking becomes less of a nightmare, but there is more to celebrate.

Even more noteworthy is the improvements in air quality resulting from fewer vehicles. With the COVID-19 pandemic where many people are now working remotely, air quality has reportedly improved since commuting (and manufacturing) decreased. 

This has helped the fight against climate change and evidence that fewer cars on the road can make a big difference in air quality.

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New research has suggested that toxic air pollution is an ongoing pandemic and the World Health Organization linked it to 8.8 million premature deaths in 2015. While the coast of BC has the luxury of exquisite air quality thanks to coastal winds that sweep much of our pollution away, it still accumulates somewhere. 

We can directly contribute to the air quality by using alternatives like car-sharing, vouching for their environmental benefits and reducing our GHGs emissions.

Fewer cars also mean less gas and diesel consumption. By lowering consumption, the overall demand for more gas and diesel is lowered. Exploring new oil reserves, which is invasive to marine life and the given ecosystem, can become less of a priority. 

The more difficult finding oil reserves become, the more invasive drilling will be. Lowering the needs for vehicles also benefits the atmosphere because up to one-fifth of the emissions a car releases during its entire lifetime is during the production process. 

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Supporting A Cleaner, Sustainable Future

Car sharing companies like Modo are in full support of a cleaner, more sustainable future for the communities they serve and the entire planet. Modo even has its own movement called “car shedding”. 

It begins with their foundational business story, which is to provide an affordable car-sharing network to Vancouverites, leading to the elimination of cars on the road thanks to their service. “Nearly a quarter of members would have purchased or leased a car if it weren’t for Modo” they proudly state.

Modo offers a range of hybrid, electronic, and fuel-efficient vehicles in its fleet. They maintain their vehicles regularly, which keeps them clean, and only provide newer vehicles. Being part of their network is supporting local sustainability.

And they do much more than provide cars that can be shared amongst civilians. The co-op promotes and supports environmental advocacy locally in Vancouver and continues to be part of the conversation towards a more sustainable future. 

Modo has provided input to The City of Vancouver’s Renewable City Strategy, where they promoted the impact car-sharing can have on reducing carbon pollution. They’re also part of other great initiatives, like the Business Coalition for a Clean Economy with other climate change leaders like MEC, Vancity, and Lush Cosmetics, advocating for creating a cleaner economy. 

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“With one million more people taking up residency in Metro Vancouver in the next 20 years alone, the time to reduce our collective dependency on personal cars is now,” says Selena McLachlan, Director of Communications at Modo. “Without a shift in car ownership levels, the impact another 700,000 cars will have on traffic, parking and air quality will be hard to ignore.

Being part of a co-op that is environmentally engaged and ethically sound is not only supporting the right organization, but also contributing to a cleaner future for all. Car sharing companies tend to be environmentally-focused, and this benefits the community at large.

Today car sharing is cheap, convenient, and cool. The coolest part is anybody who joins is helping the environment by simply making more conscious decisions on how they get around