Car clubs – a form of neighbourhood car rental – offer an alternative to private car ownership. This report describes new analysis of the 2010/11 annual survey of car club users conducted by Carplus, in order to understand the potential emission impacts of car clubs in London. The analysis shows that, on average, members of car clubs report substantially lower levels of household car use than the average London household with at least one full car license holder. Those who have just joined the car club are asked about their pre-joining travel behaviour, and, on average, this is also reported to involve substantially greater household car use than for established members. In addition, car club vehicles tend to be considerably newer and cleaner than the average private car. Consequently, average estimations of emissions of CO2, NOx and PM10 from car use by households with established London car club members are less than half of the equivalent emissions estimations for London households with at least one full car license holder, or for the pre-joining household car use by those who have recently joined. To establish the robustness of these results, different sub-groups of car club users were considered. This shows that, after joining, on average, there are increases in car use by non-car-owning households, and by households whose personal car ownership also increases. However, these increases are relatively small compared to the large average reductions in household car use by those who reduce their household car ownership – meaning that the overall average changes calculated seem robust. In total, about 30% of car club members report reducing their household car ownership after joining a car club, and about 30% (including a proportion of those who dispose of a car) report that they would otherwise have purchased a vehicle.

Want to know more about this project?