Author Emily Kerr, founder of, a car-sharing advocacy organisation, explains how sharing cars can benefit everyone.

Cars can be convenient. But private car ownership is expensive - it costs about £4,000 a per year in the UK.

Cars cause congestion, take up space on the streets, and threaten the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. Car fumes are poisoning people and are one of the UK’s biggest contributors to the climate crisis. Car sharing offers a potential solution.

Car-sharing reduces the need for everyone to own their own car, taking cars off the streets and reducing the emissions associated with manufacture (25%-50% of each car’s lifetime emissions).

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As I’ve learned from personal experience, if you don’t own a car, you’re much less likely to use one - which means you cycle and walk more, and get fitter.

Car-sharing exists informally, through borrowing cars from friends and family.

It exists commercially through lift-sharing, car-clubs, and ‘airbnb for cars’ platforms like Hiyacar and Turo.

As the founder of a campaign group ShareOurCars I’m supportive of all types of car-sharing, but I’m particularly interested in the informal and community varieties.

This month I’ve spoken to people who share their car in lots of different ways. A man who shares his EV with 10 neighbours he has added to his insurance policy.

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A woman who shares her car with her four flatmates, all contributing equal amounts and scheduling their usage via Google.

A person who shared her car with another lady back in 1990, alternating usage weekly and deciding a year in advance who had the car each week so they could plan ahead and book holidays.

I collaborated with Hiyacar, a sort of ‘Airbnb for cars’, to create a new type of car-sharing, called ‘closed loop’ sharing.

A car owner can set up their own closed loop, either of neighbours or of friends, and only people in that group can borrow the car (or cars, in the case of bigger groups).

It uses Hiyacar’s tech, insurance, and booking system which makes it very easy to manage but it’s restricted to a trusted group of people.

The car owner gets a fee when their car is used, and by making their car available to other people they can help drive down car ownership. EVs are particularly in demand but we’ve got various types of cars working in small or big loops, they just have to be less than 15 years old. It’s particularly good in areas which are too small to support conventional car clubs like Co-Wheels, although it can also help make more cars available closer by or for longer periods in areas where Co-Wheels operate – in my area, many people use a couple of types of sharing and that’s great.

So if you have a car which you don’t use every single day, maybe you could think about sharing it informally, or on one of the peer-to-peer rental services like Hiyacar, Karshare, Getaround, and Turo. If you prefer to keep your borrowers to a local group or list of friends, you can easily set up a closed loop – see our website for more details.

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If you are wondering whether you really need to own a car (or if you think you might be able to go down from two cars to one car in your household) think about whether car-sharing could work for you.

In my household we’re now car-free, and I can honestly say it’s been a breeze, partly because there’s several local cars we can borrow whenever we need to and because we live near safe cycle infrastructure.

The bonus has been that my six-year-old is now a fit, experienced cyclist, and my four-year-old can do a three-mile round trip.

The baby is happy in the cargo bike and I’m also fitter. And as a family, we are saving a lot of money each month.

Emily Kerr is the founder of, a car sharing advocacy organisation. Find @shareourcars on Twitter.

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This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.

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