Car sharing growing in popularity as gas prices skyrocket

MILWAUKEE -- Gas prices at many stations in the Milwaukee area are over the $4 mark as of St. Patrick's Day weekend, and thanks to the steady climb, many drivers are in search of alternatives.

Car sharing is one idea growing in popularity - especially when you just need to take a quick trip to the grocery store or the mall.

Matty Griffiths uses Zipcar, the leader in a market that's getting more crowded. Drivers get a vehicle by the hour or by the day, gas and insurance included. "Anything from chauffeuring theater sets around to artists and their work, to going to see my mom and family who live out in the suburbs," Griffiths said.

"A typical Zipster is looking for cost savings. They're looking for simplicity, convenience - and we provide all of these things with gas, insurance and a reserved parking space included," Zipcar general manager Ellice Perez said.

The parking spots evolve from partnerships with localities where car sharing makes sense, like Arlington, Virginia, along Washington's bus and train lines.

"Car sharing is a great option for those who bike, take public transportation and sometimes, you need a car. So car sharing fits that lifestyle," Perez said.

Other companies are looking to share the road. Hertz "On Demand" is the rental giant's version of car sharing. Its Washington fleet includes some electric cars. Daimler's Car-2-Go is about to drive into more cities, adding more options.

There's also a growing market of peer-to-peer car sharing. Startups like Relay Rides and Getaround let drivers rent from neighbors, and car owners rent out their wheels for extra cash.

In Milwaukee, zip cars can be found close to college campuses. There are locations near Marquette and in several spots on the east side near UW-Milwaukee. CLICK HERE for one Milwaukee option - Zipcar at UWM.CLICK HERE for an option form Milwaukee Central Parking.