Skip to main content

Car Sharing and Sustainable Travel

Blog Posts
Highlights 2021-2022

Can having your car used MORE actually help to REDUCE emissions?

It might seem like a contradiction, but making your existing car available to others through a car sharing platform could help to reduce the total number of cars on the road.  In turn this can reduce emissions associated with the manufacturing of new cars – which can be the equivalent of more than two years’ worth of road emissions!

So - yes, in some cases it actually can!

Sustainable Travel and Cars

If you can choose active travel like walking and cycling, then this is clearly the best option for both the climate and for health.  Leeds also has a great network of public transport. But there are times when having access to a vehicle can be valuable – whether that’s to travel somewhere off the beaten track, when you need to move bulky items around, or when you need to be somewhere at times that don’t work for bus timetables.

With changes to commuting and travel patterns as a result of Covid-19, more of us might be wondering whether our cars are worth keeping. Whilst electric vehicles are appealing for reducing emissions, they are still relatively expensive and not widely available second hand. They also have environmental impacts associated with their manufacture.

Leeds has a variety of ways to access vehicles flexibly if and when you need them - through the many taxi services, traditional car rentals or the city wide Enterprise Car Club which allows you to hire cars by the hour - but you may still be reluctant to go completely car-free.

The Sharing Economy

The sharing economy is seeing lots of interest for the way it can save both money and resources.  In Headingley for example, the recently launched ‘Buy Nowt LS6’ library of things lets you hire all kinds of items from waffle makers to garden tools.  And here on campus the Bike Hub offers bicycle rentals and e-bike trials to help you get around.

Peer to peer car sharing is a way of contributing towards sustainable travel networks, making better use of existing cars which on average are said to sit idle for a whopping 96% of the time.

Car sharing platforms such as HiyaCar or ZipCar allow car owners to list their own cars for rent by the hour, day or longer.  Owners control when their car is available for others and set their own rates for rentals, meaning they can still use their car when they need to, but can also earn money from renting it out.

Each car sharing platform operates in a slightly different way so it's worth researching to make sure it works for you.  Drivers typically have to register before they're able to rent a car, and insurance and finance is covered through the platform.  Some platforms require owners to physically hand over keys at pickup, whilst others operate through an app, with secure technology installed to allow remote unlocking and driving without the owner needing to be involved. There are usually commissions to be paid to the platform from each rental, which comes from the rental fee charged to drivers.


If you’d like help finding sustainable travel options that work for you, check out our sustainable travel pages. Or if you can’t find an answer there then email the team at .