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The days of the traditional car ownership model are rapidly fading away. More people than ever before are turning to alternative transport options such as car sharing. Car sharing is the new way to rent or, well, share a car wherever and whenever you need one.

Not everyone needs to own a car. If you live in a big city, chances are you have plenty of public transport options to get you to and from work quickly. Driving to work might be a complete nightmare when you have to navigate gridlocked streets during rush hour traffic.

But it’s still nice to be able to jump in a car and drive somewhere new every once in a while, or go on holiday. Or have an alternative when train strikes happen. It might seem a little over-the-top to buy a car for those rare situations, though.

That’s where car sharing comes in. But what exactly is it? And how does it work here in the UK?

Person in orange with blue car and trees and sun in the background.

What exactly is car sharing?

Car sharing has been around for ages informally when people borrowed friends’ cars. But it has become increasingly popular and is a way of getting around without having to worry about the hassle and expense of owning and maintaining your own car. It’s the perfect solution for those who want the convenience of having access to a car when they need it, without all the fuss. Instead of shelling out for your own car, you can pay an hourly or daily rate and get access to someone else’s ride whenever you like.

The concept of car sharing is incredibly straightforward: you find a car near you using an app or website, book it online, hop in using your account credentials, and drive away. In addition to being great for those on a budget, this means that fewer cars will be needed on our already overcrowded roads. Win-win!

Car sharing can also take on a more informal nature. For instance, friends might share a car as part of small collectives, or local communities might form online communities where they make their own car-sharing arrangements.

A closely related concept is the idea of carpooling or sharing a car with other passengers going to the same destination. Here, you car share as well, but you’re not borrowing someone’s car, rather you’re hitching a ride. This has similar benefits – less cars on the road, less fuel being used, and removing the hassle of having to own a vehicle to get to places.

What are the benefits of car sharing?

The benefits of car sharing are numerous for you as a driver and for the planet as a whole.

It’s perfect for anyone looking for a low-cost way to get around town. Whether you need a reliable ride for errands, work, or pleasure, car sharing can provide you with access to safe and well-maintained vehicles at reasonable prices—without requiring you to pay for long-term insurance or repairs. Plus, since you’re only paying for what you use when you use it, there’s no need to worry about unexpected costs associated with owning your own car.

Car sharing helps reduce emissions by allowing multiple people access to one vehicle instead of each person having their own personal set of wheels. That means fewer cars clogging up roads and polluting the air we all breathe.

Popular car-sharing app Karshare estimates that cars in the UK sit idle 96% of the time. But if only 2% of drivers switched to car sharing CO2 emissions could drop by a staggering 620,000 tonnes. Car sharing is a way to make use of underused resources, limit consumerism, and ensure there are fewer cars on the road and idling away on driveways.

Man with blue hatchback car with trees and the sun in the background

What are some popular car sharing apps in the UK?

Although car sharing is an emerging concept in the UK, there are already lots of car sharing apps cropping up. Across the pond in particular, car sharing has been making a bit of a splash with apps like Zipcar, Turo, and Car2Go.

But, there are options for us here in the UK too. Among the most popular ones are the aptly named Karshare as well as the punny Hiyacar.

Typically, you’ll need to download the app and undergo a quick verification process that ensures you have a driver’s licence and a valid ID. But once that’s done, you’re good to join the car sharing revolution.


Karshare’s concept is simple. You go on the app or website. You key in your postcode. Then, you put in the exact date and time when you want to collect and drop off the car. The website then spits out several results with cars in the area that are available to hire when you need them. It also tells you how much it’ll cost to hire the cars.

The cars available to you are put up by other members of the community, not the website. Car owners who do not need the car during a particular time make it available on the website for others to use.

The app features keyless technology allowing you to unlock the car you’ve hired via the app itself. This means the owner doesn’t have to be there when you collect or return the car.

To give you an idea, prices typically range from around £50 to £120 per day. This includes comprehensive insurance and breakdown cover too.


Hiyacar works a lot like Karshare. Once you undergo their verification process, all you need to do is key in your postcode, put in the dates and times when you need your car, and the system will bring up the nearest available cars for you to choose from. All come fully insured and have RAC breakdown cover too.

As with Karshare, the people who put their cars up on Hiyacar are also private individuals. This means you’re borrowing a car from a member of your community rather than a big car rental company.

Car owners are compensated with lots of insurance and car maintenance perks, and they also receive a cut of the rental price. They don’t have to be around to hand keys over for rentals either – Hiyacar also makes use of keyless technology to grant drivers access to the vehicle for a specified duration.

Bla Bla Car

If you’re more interested in hitching a ride with someone going in the same direction, you can’t go wrong with established apps like Bla Bla Car.  It’s a ride-sharing service that connects drivers with open seats in their cars to passengers who want to go somewhere.

The driver signs up on the website and sets their destination, as well as available dates and times. Bla Bla Car then sends out an alert to potential passengers who are looking for rides in the same area and at similar times. Passengers can also search for drivers who have already registered and might be going their way.

Once a passenger has found a driver they are comfortable with, they can book the ride online securely through the website or app. The driver sets their own price for the trip, which includes fuel costs and any other fees associated with the journey. Passengers then pay for their journey and get to their destination in the comfort of a car without having to worry about train strikes or other public transport issues.

Blue hatchback car with trees and the sun in the background

Are there any car-sharing collectives in the UK?

While companies like Hiyacar and Karshare offer accessible ways to rent cars quickly on a peer-to-peer basis, there are also more informal ways to car share. These include sharing cars with friends, looking for rides on local community pages, or making use of local car clubs.

Sharing cars with friends

If you have a friend who owns a car they don’t drive very often, you could come to an arrangement where you borrow their car on occasion.

You may help with the costs of fuel, or perhaps offer to lend them something of yours in exchange. For example, perhaps you have an expensive underwater camera they can borrow when they go snorkelling. This is a great example of how the sharing economy can work in an informal setting.

If you opt for this type of arrangement, you’ll need to ensure you have the correct car insurance policy in place. That’s where temporary car insurance like Zixty comes in.

Online communities

If you don’t have friends with cars, you could also check out one of the numerous local groups on Facebook to look for potential car-sharing options. Of course, as you will be dealing with strangers in an unregulated environment, it’s always best to be careful.

Also, most online communities on Facebook work like Bla Bla Car rather than Hiyacar. This means, people in the community offer lifts to particular locations rather than the use of their car.

Local car clubs

Local car clubs where members of the community get together to purchase and share a car on a membership basis are another way to make use of car sharing.

One example of this is the Derwent Valley Car Club located in Blackhall Mill, Durham. Members of the community won a National Lottery grant and purchased an electric Nissan Leaf. The car “lives” in the village’s community centre where it has its own dedicated charging port.

Anyone in the local community can become a member for as little as £5 a month – a fee which is offset against their use of the car. It then costs around £3 an hour to borrow the car with no additional charges for extra mileage. The car club also offers bike rentals for people who prefer not to drive.

This is a great example of how car sharing can connect otherwise isolated communities to the rest of the UK. People who opt to use the car rather than buy their own are also helping the environment by driving a newer, electric car only when they need it, rather than maintaining an older petrol or diesel car, for example.

Blue car with trees and the sun in the background

How does temporary car insurance help you car share?

Do you need to arrange your own car insurance to share someone’s car? It depends. If you’re hiring a car from an app like Hiyacar or Carpool, the price typically includes comprehensive cover for the duration of your rental. As with any such arrangements, however, it’s your responsibility to ensure you have the right cover in place.

The rise of car sharing in the UK: An overview

Car sharing is a great way to get around the UK and help preserve the environment too. Not only is it incredibly cost-effective since users don’t have to buy and insure a car, but it’s also better for the planet. With communal usage of cars throughout cities, emissions could be significantly reduced over time.

It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved—it’s convenient, economical and eco-friendly!

Not only will you be helping reduce climate change by cutting down on carbon emissions, but when you join a car club or set up your own informal collective with friends, you’ll also be making use of existing resources more efficiently. And with temporary car insurance options like Zixty, it’s easier than ever to car share with friends.

Plus, many apps now offer peer-to-peer sharing options where you can either rent a car or actually rent out your own vehicle just like a hotel room – talk about diversifying your income streams!

So if you want to make smart decisions that benefit both your wallet and the planet – why not give car sharing a go? It could very well be the perfect solution for getting around town while reducing your carbon footprint too.