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Should you buy a car or car share? Thousands are ditching car ownership and saving big

Find out why tens of thousands of Australians are turning to car sharing as a solution to the rising costs of owning a car. You could save thousands each year.

Shannon Barker

Owning a car in Australia is getting more and more costly. You feel the pinch every time you fill up with fuel, when insurance is due and each time your car goes in for service. The cost of owning even a small car is skyrocketing and the costs keep rolling in even if you don’t drive it regularly. The RACV say that the combined costs of registration, insurance, depreciation and servicing for even a small hatch add up to and average of $6900 per year! Ouch.

Tens of thousands of Australians are turning to car sharing as a solution to the rising costs of owning a car. Some are reporting savings in the thousands each year and loving the fact that they can shed all of the hassles associated with owning a car. “I kept a record of what I spent on transport and in that first year it cost me around $1600. This was compared with the $8000 it would have set me back to lease a car.” Andrew Smith, Carlton.

If you live in the inner suburbs of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Newcastle, and you need a car from time to time, or you’re considering whether you should buy a car, car sharing is a great option for you. There are cars available all over the city, ready to go at a moment’s notice, so don’t expect it to be less convenient than owning a car.

Over 40,000 Australians have joined neighbour-to-neighbour car sharing service Uber Carshare, allowing owners of under-utilised cars to rent out their car to other locals. With hundreds of cars in each city, you simply book online, walk to a local Uber Carshare car, unlock the car using the unique lockbox technology and drive away. The platform lets you "own a car" without having to own a car, so you can live car free and still get around easily.

It’s free to join as a member and you can sign up here, get verified in minutes, and start borrowing cars in your suburb within 3 hours.

Am I even going to save money?

Yes, how much depends on how often you need to use a car. Most regular Uber Carshare borrowers save between $2000 and $6000 per year compared to buying and running their own car. We've done the numbers, if you drive an average of 1-2 times a week, you’ll save about $3000 per year vs. buying and owning a car. You can also forget about the unexpected costs of mechanical issues.

“I did the math and when I looked at owning a car and driving it around for what I drive it for, and my wife as well, if we were to share a car and do the amount of mileage that we have, not only is it ridiculous for us to own a car, but we could do a weekend trip away on Uber Carshare every weekend and it would still be cheaper than owning a car. I didn’t factor in the cost of buying a car, but just on running costs alone I worked out that I’d be saving $150-200 a month. But we don’t use a car every weekend, so we’re not paying anything when we don’t use it.” – Andrew Sedlak, Coogee.

What happens if I damage the car?

All trips on the Uber Carshare platform come with damage and loss cover. When you pick up a car, check over it and if you find any damage you can easily report it to us. Before you drive away, take photos of all sides of the car and upload them through the app. If damage gets reported on the vehicle we use your photos as evidence to determine who needs to cover the costs of repairs.

We get that mistakes happen, and if you get into an accident you're at fault, you’ll have to pay an excess – no different to owning a car. For extra peace of mind, you can choose to reduce your excess to $500.

Is it going to be a big inconvenience not having my own car?

With over 1,100 cars on the platform, and an average of 150 coming on every month, car availability is good, and only getting better. The range is also getting wider, from new hatchbacks like a Toyota Yaris and VW Golf for quick grocery trips, through to large sedans, wagons, vans and utes to help you get the family around or pick up some of those harder to shift items.

“I usually find that I’m not left without a car, I’ve been using it close to 3 years now and I’m finding that more and more cars are becoming available. Some people assume that you only get crappy cars to drive but there is a full range of cars. Initially I thought I’ll probably have to meet the owner to get the key, and that would’ve been a pain, but I saw that I can unlock the lockbox with my phone and get the key to the car.” Keryn Paviour-Smith, Surry Hills

“The closest car to me is 130m away, but I often go 300m for one that only costs me $4 an hour,” Andrew Smith, Carlton.


Car sharing gives you all of the benefits of owning a car, with very few of the drawbacks. All of the costs for fuel, servicing, damage cover and tolls are handled for you by Uber Carshare so it makes borrowing a car in your community easy.

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