How to reduce carbon emissions from transport and have fewer parked cars in your area. Hint: you’ll have to share.

How to reduce carbon emissions from transport and have fewer parked cars in your area. Hint: you’ll have to share.

In the UK, there are 33 million cars. Much of the time, these cars sit idle on driveways and parked on roads. From a climate perspective, we ideally would replace car journeys by cycling, walking and using public transport. However, sometimes a car really is the best option, for instance, some hospital visits and trips to remote places are not possible without a car. Many people own a car simply because very occasionally they need to complete a task that requires it, and then end up using far more often than is strictly necessary because they already own and pay for the car.

The opportunity to make a positive impact by helping to decarbonise transport in the local community is simple - share cars. Car sharing is free to set up and enables those who need a car to access it when necessary without having to own one themselves. As those hiring have to pay when they need it, the cost of driving becomes explicit, making it more likely that they will walk or cycle if they can. Consequently, car club cars replace an average of 20 privately owned cars on average across the UK.

Reducing car ownership
Source: CoMoUk 2021 report

Now that working from home has become more popular, there are even more cars sitting around “just in case” they are needed. ALL these journeys could be supported by having readily available shared cars, which can be started by anyone - even if you do not own a car yourself.

The potential environmental impact of this is huge. In London alone, 300,000 private cars could be replaced by adding a further 21,000 shared vehicles to the existing fleet in the city, based on this report from the national shared mobility charity, CoMo. If this benefit were fully realised, it would free up 800 acres of parking space for better use across the capital - that’s an area the size of Hampstead Heath that could be put to better use.

Here are some ways that Hiyacar can support you to reduce private car ownership in your area by participating yourself or even supporting a local charity through effective advocacy in your area.

Community-based Car Sharing

If your local community group wants to share cars among themselves, Hiyacar can help by providing the technology platform and insurance to make it all possible. You could share keys by dropping them through each others’ doors or ask us to install app-based locking devices in your cars if you wanted to do it all through your smartphone instead. As an example of a successful intitative, here is an interview with a member of a community group that set up community-based car sharing in Oxford. There are also some excellent resources here. To speak to someone at Hiyacar about setting up community car sharing in your area, send us a message to find out how we can support you.

Car/Van Rental on Hiyacar

If you own a vehicle, why not make it available to vetted members of the public who would like to borrow it occasionally? By making your car or van available on and being a reliable sharer, you could help a few people to sell their cars, plus make a bit of money to help with maintenance. Check out the Mates Rates feature on Hiyacar that allows you to offer discounts to your favourite people for using your car, including making it free for them to drive (insurance costs still apply).

Sell your Car with some help from your Neighbours

If you only need your car occasionally, why not approach a neighbour or two and ask them if they would be willing to rent out their car to you now and then? By signing up to Hiyacar as a driver and inviting them to download the app with your personal code, you and your neighbour both receive a £30 credit for car hire, a total of £60 credit to get you both going. Once you have tried it once or twice, you might decide to get rid of your car altogether. Perhaps you could plant a bee-friendly garden on your driveway instead!

A word on Insurance for peer-to-peer car sharing

Sharing cars is not covered by standard car insurance policies. Therefore, Hiyacar provides insurance cover for your vehicle and third parties for the duration of the hire. The insurance is provided alongside the car sharing service.

Fundraise for a Local Charity or Community Group

If you want to raise awareness of car sharing, you can promote it and raise money for a registered charity. Hiyacar can provide you with a dedicated tracking link and discount code to give people £10 off their first rental as an extra incentive. For each car owner and driver that signs up using your codes, Hiyacar will credit your chosen charity when the first rental booking is made - up to £30 for a new car owner. To contact Hiyacar about supporting your organisation by growing car sharing, tell us a bit more about your initiative.

Advocate for Car Club Provision

If parking is a real issue in your area, that’s a strong indicator that it could be a good place to set up a car club, which your Council can support through dedicated bays, permits, and even charging infrastructure for EVs. Despite being a CoMoUK accredited car club, Hiyacar only operates with car club permits in Islington, Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Waltham Forest and Bristol. If you want to help Hiyacar and other car clubs get permits to operate more sustainably in your borough, please send a letter to your councillors via and ask them to increase provision for car clubs and have more than one operator to help keep prices down.

Header photo credit: jonchallicom

Brigitte Small

Brigitte Small

Head of Growth

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