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How much money can carshare save your city?

Posting in Cities

Carsharing programs aren't just helping carless urbanites get around town. They can also help local governments save money.

The Associated Press reports that Chicago is saving about one million dollars a year through a city partnership with Zipcar.

The partnership, which started in 2011, allows city workers to use Zipcars and turns the city's existing car fleet into an easily sharable fleet among city workers. The goal, of course, is to trim excess waste and save money, which is exactly what the program has brought to the city. Since the start of the program about 150 city-owned cars have been sold for about $750,000 and the city estimates that because they don't have to buy as many cars they've saved about $6 million.

For the third largest city in Chicago, a few million dollars in savings might seem tiny. Sure, it's not much, but with an estimated budget deficit of $369 million this year, you'll take savings anywhere you can get them. And those savings add up. In fact, turning to carsharing is just one small example of how Chicago has been able to slash its budget deficit in half.

But Chicago isn't the only city government to use carsharing to cut costs. Major cities, from Washington, D.C. and Houston, to smaller cities like Knoxville, Tenn. are using the program, with some reporting similar savings as Chicago.

Photo: Zipcar

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— By on July 30, 2013, 5:27 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure