Many car rental services have an age requirement of 21. Car sharing services Flexcar and Zipcar are lowering their requirement to 18 as they expand into more universities this Fall. Car companies avoid younger drivers because they crash. 16 to 19 year olds crash four times more often than people over 20 according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Car shares are membership services, so they think they can offset the risk by considering driving records and avoid bans or fees like the major rental services. Flexcar's pilot program of six universities showed college students are actually safer drivers than the average young person. So they plan to expand the lower age requirement to 18 schools this Fall. The car shares are also expanding into new schools.

Flexcar is about to announce deals with Arizona State University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Zipcar says it's launching in up to 15 schools this Fall, including Yale University and Carnegie Mellon University. Hertz recently said it would start renting cars by the hour for special card members, an option pioneered by car sharing companies. Don't be surprised if you see the major car rental services on campuses soon looking to get into the younger, safer driver market.

[Source: Wall Street Journal]

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