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Car sharing cities

The popularity of car sharing is on the rise around the world, offering a convenient solution for those looking to get from A to B.

While many choose to car share with friends and family, there’s also an increasing number of car sharing apps. These allow you to rent a vehicle for as little as an hour and you can usually pick up the vehicle via an app.

Car sharing may not always come with insurance so be sure to check whether you need temporary car insurance. You can get temporary car insurance for as little as 1 hour and this can particularly benefit younger drivers who don’t have their own vehicle. 

Woman in straw hat leans out of car window on an open road

 

The best car sharing cities

Car-sharing-friendly cities tend to have high car ownership rates as well as high population densities, meaning there are lots of people and cars constantly on the move. Here we take a look at the best car sharing cities around the world.

Each of the cities was ranked on the following 4 factors: 

  • The number of major car sharing companies currently operating in the city.
  • The average cost of an hour’s rent across each of the above companies (free-floating schemes only) according to the websites of each company.
  • The car ownership rate according to government sources. This was included as car ownership indicates cars are the preferred mode of transportation.
  • The population density according to City Population1, This was included because a high population density means that there are more people per car and therefore more potential car sharing customers.

Infographic showing the highest scoring cities on the car sharing index

1. Paris, France - 7.43 out of 10

Taking the top spot is the French capital, Paris, with a score of 7.43 out of 10. Paris is home to 6 different car sharing companies and also has the highest population density on this list, at 20,506 people per km².

For car sharing to succeed in a city, it’s important for there to be high population density and therefore lots of potential users per car.

The average cost of an hour’s rental with these companies is £7.74 (€9.15), ranging from £1.65 (€1.95) for Communauto to £12.18 (€14.40) for Share Now.

Paris previously was dominated by the Autolib car sharing service, which has since collapsed. In its place, the likes of Ubeeqo, Share Now and Free2Move have flourished. 

2. London, United Kingdom - 6.84 out of 10

In second place is another major European capital, London. There are 7 major car sharing operators in London, including the likes of Ubeeqo and Zipcar.

Car clubs like these work closely with TfL and many use vehicles that are fully compliant with the city’s ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) restrictions.

3. Singapore - 6.69 out of 10

There are 2 cities that are tied in third place, the first of which is the highest ranking Asian city, Singapore.

Like London, Singapore is among the cities with the highest number of different car sharing companies. It’s also among the most affordable cities and has a high population density, although a low car ownership rate (11%).

3. Melbourne, Australia - 6.69 out of 10

Also scoring 6.69 out of 10 is Melbourne, Australia. Melbourne is among the most affordable cities for car sharing, with an hour’s rental across its 5 operators averaging £4.84 (AU$8.40).

It's estimated that there are over 380 on-street car share spaces in the city and 180 off-street, with the city council committed to installing more.

Rank City Country Car sharing companies Average hourly price (local currency) Average hourly price (GBP) Car ownership rate Population density (per km²) Car sharing score /10
1
Paris
France
6
€9.15
£7.74
65%
20,506
7.43
2
London
United Kingdom
7
£7.79
£7.79
56%
7,020
6.84
3
Singapore
Singapore
7
S$8.61
£5.17
11%
8,076
6.69
3
Melbourne
Australia
5
AU$8.40
£4.84
87%
1,665
6.69
5
Madrid
Spain
6
€8.63
£7.30
52%
5,457
6.4
5
Munich
Germany
5
€7.10
£6.00
55%
4,788
6.4
7
Amsterdam
Netherlands
7
€8.61
£7.29
25%
6,727
6.1
8
Sydney
Australia
5
AU$8.07
£4.65
56%
2,163
6.03
9
Milan
Italy
6
€10.73
£9.08
52%
7,549
5.96
10
Prague
Czech Republic
3
149.00 Kč
£5.14
87%
2,623
5.59
11
Boston
United States
3
$9.00
£7.45
67%
5,230
5.44
12
Berlin
Germany
6
€7.33
£6.20
35%
4,127
5.37
13
Toronto
Canada
4
C$12.33
£7.93
72%
3,028
5.22
14
Tokyo
Japan
2
¥890
£5.46
45%
15,510
5.15
15
Miami
United States
3
$10.00
£8.28
82%
4,718
5.07
16
Barcelona
Spain
2
€6.50
£5.50
36%
16,514
4.93
17
Seattle
United States
4
$15.00
£12.42
82%
3,379
4.86
18
Dublin
Republic of Ireland
3
€9.00
£7.61
66%
3,677
4.71
19
Zürich
Switzerland
2
CHF2.45
£2.13
35%
4,809
4.49
19
Los Angeles
United States
3
$11.00
£9.11
88%
3,166
4.49
 

Cities with the most car sharing companies

Infographic showing the cities with the most car sharing companies

There are 3 cities on the list that are tied with 7 car sharing companies each: London, Singapore and Amsterdam.

Each of the above has a mixture of free-floating and peer-to-peer (P2P) services. Free-floating services let you pick up and drop off cars around the city, while P2P lets you rent cars from other private owners.

 

Most affordable city for car sharing

Infographic showing the city with the most affordable car sharing

The costs of car sharing can vary quite considerably from one city to another. On this list, the cheapest city is Zürich, with an average hourly cost of £2.13 (CHF2.45).

While we’ve just looked at hourly rates here, car sharing companies may also charge a membership fee, or a fee per kilometre too. In addition, P2P car sharing prices are set by individual car owners, so haven’t been included in these averages.

 

City with the highest car ownership

Infographic showing the city with the highest car ownership

Of these cities, it’s often those in the US that have the highest levels of car ownership. San Diego has the highest of all, with 94% of adults owning a car in the California city.

A high level of car ownership is particularly important in a city that has lots of P2P services, which rely on local residents renting out their own cars.

 

City with the highest population density

Infographic showing the city with the highest population density

Aside from lots of cars, the other thing that a good car sharing city obviously needs is lots of people.

That’s certainly the case in Paris, where there are over 20,000 people per square km. This puts it amongst the most densely populated cities in the world and the most densely populated in Europe.

Having such a dense population means there’s great demand for car sharing in Paris and is a big reason it ranks first overall.

Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused.com, comments:

“Car sharing is a great alternative for those who don’t have a need for a car full-time but are looking for more affordable options to get on the road. From car sharing apps such as Car2Go and Enterprise, the new car rental service is quickly developing, with some apps operating in more than 9,500 global locations.

"The apps allow users to make and monitor tailored rental reservations, with opportunities also to manage travel routes and contact roadside assistance if necessary. Users can typically choose from free-floating services, with cars picked up and dropped off around the city, and P2P services where cars are rented privately. 

"However, when it comes to car sharing opportunities, some cities are better equipped than others. Paris is the best city for car sharing and is home to 6 different car-sharing companies, including Ubeeqo, and Free2Move. 

“As car sharing may not come with car insurance, be sure to check whether you need temporary car insurance, because you don’t want to be caught out.”

Methodology