Zipcar, which operates in eight countries, says that its existence has helped pull more than 400,000 vehicles off of the roads of the 500 or so cities it serves. According to Zipcar's annual membership survey, about a third of those members say they would've had to buy their own vehicle if Zipcar didn't exist. Meanwhile, almost 10 percent of those members said they got rid of a car after becoming a so-called "Zipster." Add those two figures, and, poof, there go your 400,000 cars.
Avis Budget, which had been lagging competitors Enterprise and Hertz in the car-sharing department, bought out Zipcar in 2013 for $500 million. At the time, Zipcar had about 760,000 members. The company's membership continues to grow by more than 10 percent a year.
Zipcar started offering one-way rentals in Boston in late 2014, and broadened that feature to more locations earlier this year. The company is looking to guard against both the growing group of smaller car-sharing competitors like Car2go (by number of locations, since Car2go has almost 2 million members in 30 cities) and the increasing influence of ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft. This summer, Zipcar started testing out per-mile pricing in a handful of US cities, with weekday hourly rates at about $4.50 plus a fee of 50 cents per mile, so the company continues to be creative in its efforts to get people out of personal car ownership.