Personal car-sharing is a new twist on auto rentals


"Reporting from San Francisco -- Emily Castor's metallic gray Honda has been driven by dozens of people she's never met.

They treat it well, pay any tickets they get and do the dirty work of finding a legal parking spot when they return it to her neighborhood near Golden Gate Park.

Castor, 29, is pulling in hundreds of dollars each month through one of several personal car-sharing companies that have burgeoned in the Bay Area over the last year. For $8 an hour or $45 a day, renters can climb behind the wheel of her Civic. Insurance is included.

The Bay Area has become a laboratory for personal car-sharing, as well as the broader "collaborative consumption" movement. Rooms in private homes, outgrown children's clothes, parking spaces and more can be rented, borrowed, bartered or gifted through a burgeoning number of Web-based ventures...

According to research engineer Susan Shaheen of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center, there are nine personal car-sharing networks now operating in the U.S. and 25 globally..."

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