Will Zipcar be your ride of choice?

Though Zipcar–the largest car-sharing service in the US–boasts 180,000 members and 5,000 cars in more than 50 cities across the states, Europe, and Canada, chances are you still haven’t heard of them.

In late October of last year, Zipcar merged with the other dominant car-share company, Flexcar, which makes the new company the de facto service for people who need a car for the occasional errand. It’s become quite a hit here in New Haven, CT. Even lots of my friends at Yale are paying the couple hundred in annual membership fees to be able to check out a car for a day.

For many, it’s an excellent deal. You can rent by the hour ($8.50 in New Haven) or by the day ($65). And best of all, gas, insurance, and parking are all free. But it’s not for me. If you drive long distances, like I do to Pittsburgh, then you’re better off just getting a rental, especially since each mile above 180 is $0.35.

But if you need it for a couple hours every weekend or so, this might save you a ton of cash.