Car-Sharing vs. Car Rental

Beginners to Car-Sharing may find it difficult to understand. Part of the worldwide phenomenon known as shared mobility, it is only natural that interest (and searches) increase as the sharing economy continues to grow in scale and impact.

As we strive to educate our readers on what Car-Sharing is, we’ll answer the question in another way in this post, and in a form that we often get – how do you tell Car-Sharing and car rental apart? In all our years of experience working as a Car-Sharing operator, we’ve noticed that people tend to confuse Car-Sharing with car rental.

We understand and we’re here to help. That’s why we’ve created a comparison table based on the categories “How to Use”, “Vehicles”, and “Users”. We’ve also included a comparison on usage scenarios. Hopefully by the end of this article, you’ll be able to tell the difference between Car-Sharing and car rental!


I’m new to the concept of Car-Sharing and would like to know more about it. How is Car-Sharing different from car rental? What are some of the major differences?


While many of the answers found online focus on explaining the superficial differences between Car-Sharing and car rental, we think it’s more important to think about why these different services exist, and who they’re built for.

Car-Sharing vs Car Rental

1. How to Use

Car-Sharing: Members can book cars by the hour or day, last-minute or in advance.

Reserve your cars online or through mobile apps. Booking is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Reserve, pickup and return are done on a self-service basis. Unlock the car with your phone or membership card and the keys are already in there. 

Car Rental: Rent by the day, week, month or year.

Register by going down to the office with the relevant documentation and filling in paperwork.

Keys and car must be collected from and returned to the office.

2. Vehicles

Car-Sharing: Vehicle locations are distributed and easily accessible via public transport. The stations are also close to where people live and work.

Some Car-Sharing operators provide a diversified fleet, while others standardize their fleet.

Car Rental: Limited locations which may not be easily accessible or as convenient.  

Selection of vehicles is usually comprehensive.

3. Users

Car-Sharing: Users are members and are socially driven.

Civic responsibility falls on members to keep cars clean and petrol level high after each trip.

Car-Sharing is optimized to enable urban people in densely populated cities access to cars.

Car Rental: Rentals are done on a transactional basis.  

Vehicles are serviced after each use.

Car rentals are frequented by vacationers or on overseas trips.

Supermarkets & Convenience Stores

To understand the comparison better, it helps to think of the difference between supermarkets and convenience stores, and us that as an analogy of the different cases for car rental and Car-Sharing.

Like the supermarket, car rental offers an unparalleled variety in its selection of cars available. Due to the economies of scale, car rental can offer more attractive prices as well. However, supermarkets are often plagued by long queues – in the case of car rental, this drawback is represented by the paperwork and travel involved. Precious time must be forfeited.

On the other hand, Car-Sharing functions more like a convenience store. While unable to match the supermarket when it comes to pricing, Car-Sharing offers the flexibility for short trips as well as the convenience of multiple locations available for pickup. Hassle is reduced to a minimum, and time is saved.

There are times when you appreciate the easy accessibility of purchasing items from a 7-Eleven, just like there are times when you require the ease and seamless experience of Car-Sharing. Nevertheless, most of us probably shop at both supermarkets and convenience stores. No reason for excluding one over the other. Both complement and enhance the user experience by offering variety and selection in terms of service and mobility.

Usage Scenarios

Car-Sharing is for you if…

  • You need a car right away
  • You’re planning to drive for a shorter period
  • You don’t drive everyday
  • You live in densely populated cities
  • You want to run a bunch of quick errands in a row

Car rental is for you if…

  • You’re planning to drive a great distance over multiple days
  • You want to hold onto a car for more than 24 hours
  • You want to try a particular make and model

In closing, both Car-Sharing and car rental are great alternatives to car ownership. Both services provide additional transportation options to your lifestyle and can be complementary choices depending on your usage pattern and purpose. If you drive 9,700km or less a year, then Car-Sharing is for you (source). Click on the button below and fill in the form. We’ll be in touch.


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By | 2018-08-28T16:22:57+00:00 April 20th, 2018|Comments Off on Car-Sharing vs. Car Rental: What’s the Difference?