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In the United States, there is one car for every 1.2 people. And buying a car is often one of the largest expenses we'll make in our lifetimes. Yet, we leave our cars parked and unused 92 percent of time.
Enter peer-to-peer car sharing, which allows car owners to pocket some extra cash by lending their idle cars to strangers.
Car rentals run between $5 and $15 an hour. Car owners pocket about two-thirds of that money after the company deducts for service fees and insurance.
These companies are still fairly new, but they're expanding quickly.
This week, RelayRides went national-- making their service available to anyone over the age of 21 with a clean driving record, according to Slate. Renters obtain keys to the cars either by meeting with the car's owner face-to-face or by picking keys up from a lockbox. The company says their average renter pockets $250 per month through car rentals, according to TechCrunch.
Getaround is a bit more limited: It currently serves San Francisco and San Diego in California as well as Austin, Texas and Portland, Oregon. With Getaround, renters can install a keyless entry system that allows renters to open the car with a smart phone.
We love the start-up nature of these companies, which saves the renter from filling out the endless amount paperwork required by traditional car rentals. Of course, the downside is that you're renting a car to a stranger.
UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect that Getaround offers service in Austin, Texas and Portland, Oregon.
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