Carsharing and the Local Economy

It’s easy to understand the environmental impact of car ownership, the greenhouse gases they emit and the process of harvesting, processing and distributing the fuel they use. But less discussed is the impact owning a car has on your local economy. Outside of the harder-to-quantify aspects of urban sprawl, decline of local businesses and cost of vehicle infrastructure, let’s consider an individual consumer’s spending.

…According to AAA, the average American spends an average of $8,485 per year on their cars. A collaborative project called the Intelligent Communities program, which includes the National Building Museum, estimates that only $1,390 of that total stays in the driver’s local economy. The rest is spent on goods and services like gasoline and car insurance, which don’t directly benefit the economy of the driver’s community.  – From Govtech.com Magazine’s highlight of IBM’s new public data aggregator CityForward.org

from Manitoba's Local Produce Guide

Comparable to the AAA numbers, the average Canadian spends about $8,000 CAD per year on owning and operating a car according to CAA. On average, we estimate that 30% of the money spent on a car stays in the local economy instead of the 16% figure from the Govtech’s analysis of the AAA numbers. In Manitoba, we benefit from public provincial insurer that employs Manitobans and supports local NGO funders such as United Way. We also benefit from Red River Co-op which pays dividends of fuel usage to it members and a host of local and independent Garage services.

However, even with all of these benefits, 70% of what an average Manitoban spends on their vehicle will not directly benefit their local economy. In line with buy-local programs like 10% Shift or the Province’s Buy Manitoba food campaign, consider how carsharing can benefit the local economy. In the same way that carsharing off-sets your environmental impact by spreading the individual burden of green house gas emissions and fuel productions across a broader membership, carsharing reduces the impact on the Manitoba economy.

Peg City Car Co-op is a member of Red River Co-op and both a supplier and purchaser for Social Purchasing Portal Winnipeg. Our goal is to reduce the overall number of cars on the road by sharing them, relying on other, cleaner (and local) modes for your daily transportation. Buy from - and fix – your Bike at a local shop, Walk to your neighbourhood grocery store, and take a Bus manufactured in-province. Bike. Walk. Bus. And Sometimes, Drive.

Thanks to Molly Johnson and member David Leibl for their input on this post!

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