Last month, Zipcar's annual Low-Car Diet saw 250 people in over a dozen cities trade in their personal car for a shared Zipcar and other transportation alternatives (bus, bike, walking). Zipcar surveyed the participants after the month-long trial and has released a few interesting numbers about what happened to those who went without a personal car for 30 days:
  • Saved 67 percent on vehicle-related costs
  • Vehicle miles traveled were reduced by 66 percent
  • Public transportation ridership shot up by 98 percent
  • 47 percent lost weight (the 250 people lost a total of 413 pounds)
  • 59 percent said sharing a car made them think about other environmentally-friendly ways of being, including increased recycling and conserving energy at home.
Everyone's mileage will vary, of course, but do any of these numbers make you wish you could easily car share in your town?

[Source: Zipcar]



PRESS RELEASE:

Zipcar Wraps Up Month-Long Program, Reveals Results of the 2009 Low-Car Diet

Annual event proves the economic and environmental impact of car sharing; underscores added health benefits of a low-car lifestyle

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Aug. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Zipcar, the world's largest car-sharing service, today announced the results of the 2009 Low-Car Diet, in which more than 250 people around the globe gave up their car for a month, from July 15 - August 15, 2009. After this year's annual program, 100 participants noted that they planned to stay car-free, compared to 83 who made that same commitment after last year's Low-Car Diet.

The key findings from this year's 2009 Low-Car Diet include:

-- Economic Impact

-- Respondents spent 67 percent less on vehicle-related costs compared to the previous month when they were driving their personally owned cars

-- Environmental Impact

-- 59 percent of the participants reported that the Low-Car Diet encouraged them to make other environmentally friendly changes in their life such as recycling, eating more organic foods and reducing their at-home energy usage (e.g. turning off lights and air conditioning)
-- Participants took 74 percent fewer trips by car and reduced overall vehicle miles traveled (VMTs) by 66 percent
-- Low-Car Dieters also doubled their public transit ridership with a 98 percent increased use of public transportation

-- Health Benefits

-- Participants walked 93 percent more and biked 132 percent more, logging a combined total of 8,060 miles by bike during the Low-Car Diet month
-- 47 percent Low-Car Dieters reported losing weight; a total amount of 413 pounds were lost during the program

"Once again, the Low Car Diet results emphasize our mission to enable simple and responsible urban living," said Scott Griffith, chairman and CEO of Zipcar. "We congratulate this year's Low-Car Dieters and honor their ability to apply a 'smart consumption' mindset to their daily lives - ultimately impacting their own wallets, health and communities."

The Healthy Side of Car Sharing

Since many 2008 Low-Car Dieters highlighted the health benefits of last year's program, this year, Zipcar decided to weigh up these findings. As a result, Zipcar confirmed what last year's Low-Car Dieters suggested - the program helped Low-Car Dieters to shed pounds and adopt a healthier lifestyle. As they walked and biked - to work, to public transit, to the store, to run errands, to a friend's place, or sometimes just to be active - Low-Car Diet participants reported feeling healthier, losing weight and having more energy throughout the day.

Participants were encouraged to tap into the health benefits of living without a car by key sponsors and editorial partners who generously supported this year's Low-Car Diet. Montague Corporation provided an innovative folding bike to one participant in each city; HealthCentral provided fitness and nutrition experts to consult with participants at regional kick-off events; and bloggers from EverydayHealth in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle participated in the Low-Car Diet, sharing their experiences and creating a dialogue.

Two Low-Car Dieters - Evan and Michelle Judson, a married couple with two children, from Portland, Oregon - took their experience to heart, hoping to prove that if they could succeed, anyone could. As a result, they lost a collective 15 pounds and are selling two cars. "We've both lost weight, saved money and our children are learning a car-free lifestyle early on, so deciding to sell our two cars was a no-brainer," said Michelle Judson.

To learn more about participants in the 2009 Low-Car Diet, and to read their blog posts from the past month, please visit zipcar.com/lowcardiet.

About the 2009 Low-Car Diet

Zipcar's Low-Car Diet is an annual program that gives urban residents the opportunity to try out a car-free lifestyle for one month. Beginning July 15th, more than 250 people in cities in the U.S., Canada and London, gave up their personally owned car for one month, choosing instead to walk, bike, take public transit or Zipcar as necessary. The 2009 Low-Car Diet was supported by national sponsors and editorial partners, including Montague Corporation, HealthCentral.com and EverydayHealth.com. More information is available at zipcar.com/lowcardiet.

About Zipcar

Zipcar is the world's leading car-sharing service with 325,000 members and 6,500 vehicles in urban areas and college campuses throughout 26 North American states and provinces as well as in London, England. As a leader in urban transportation, Zipcar offers more than 30 makes and models of self-service vehicles by the hour or day to savvy city residents and businesses looking for an alternative to the high costs and hassles of owning a car in the city. More information is available at zipcar.com, zipcar.ca and zipcar.co.uk
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