By on June 18, 2014


There a few things I can’t wrap my mind around these days.

Take for example, Zipcar.  The car sharing firm that supposedly offers the Millenial vibe, is actually run by the old GM dumping ground for unpopular vehicles established rental company Avis.

That’s not a bad thing at all. Long story short, the opportunity for Zipcar to buy and manage vehicles at Avis procurement levels makes what was once a pipe dream, financially realistic. Avis gets to expand their fleet with minimal overhead costs (the two companies share the same vehicle fleet), and Zipcar gets to focus on expanding the idea of car sharing.

The problem for me is that the economics of car sharing under a corporate umbrella is still a bad idea for 99% of the folks out there.

You live in a university? Car sharing may make sense, but not when you deal with the strict asterisks and time-related gotchas that come with the corporate version of it.

There are times when you may want to go shopping, or to the movies, or to your favorite pharmacological distributor. Zipcar allows you to do that for about $10 an hour, plus an annual membership fee of about $15. If you are a student who doesn’t have the right to purchase a parking pass at your school, Zipcar gives you the sole out from those crowded university shuttles and long bike rides.


I’ll be blunt, Zipcar only works if you are denied a marketplace substitute, almost never drive, or once owned a rolling lemon money pit.

It’s also not a bad deal if you drive exactly twenty minutes, shop for exactly twenty minutes, and come back to where you live in 19 minutes and 59 seconds. Four students can gleefully share the ten dollar cost and a new deep seeded hatred for stop lights, slow drivers, and parking lots.


You can enjoy the infinite convenience of buying and sharing a car that you own.

You could have this. A 2009 Ford Crown Victoria.

The type of car that sparks fear in the eyes of a meandering motorist with just a few antennas on the roof, and a quick flashing of the headlights.

The price for a used one is still well short of $2500 with good mileage. Why so cheap? Because nothing is more unfashionable these days as a well-made, V8, rear-wheel drive car, bathed in government black and white, and incapable of getting more than 15 miles per gallon in the city.

Yet the economics of sharing this age old gas house, Animal House style, makes far more sense than supplementing the blogging income of cultural creatives and multi-national firms that see you as an easy target for their ecological phoniness.

That’s what ride sharing is about. They want your money. That’s it. If they cared a lick about you, the companies that foolishly overpaid acquired these operations wouldn’t have spent their resources de-contenting rental cars and removing important safety features that may impact your well-being should that terrible day come.

So, let’s say you decide that you want to own a car, but want to get some car sharing levels of help paying for it.

It’s not that hard if you are willing to hustle a bit. Yes there is Uber, and Lyft, and a few other firms that let you become the designated driver of the local university (invest in rubber floormats and keep the cop car). However, there are an awful lot of better ways to skin that cat.

So let’s say you decide to buy this car.

Definitely click on the link, because it’s not what you would expect. A 2004 Ford Taurus SE Wagon. Stop drooling.

Yes, this car is about as hip as a 35 year old frat boy. But that’s part of my point. It has 65,000 original miles. One owner, that being a local government, and all the maintenance has been done at the dealership according to the Carfax history.

New spark plugs. New tires. New starter. For $1175 plus a new battery and the bogus buyer premium, you’re still looking at less than $1500 out the door.

The price is right, and the hipness level is perfect as well. Why? Because you want to attract the types of people who are looking at the “transportation” end of the deal. People who are capable of doing math better than the average American.  In colleges and universities, these are usually grad students from overseas who have limited funds and a desire to travel. In the suburbs, or in your 20’s, it’s the young family that is trying to get established on one income. When you get to be in your 30’s and older, it will likely be the neighborhood where older folks and younger folks are already on good terms with each other.

You can have them all pay for part of the vehicle. Car insurance follows the car, not the driver, and that should be reimbursed as well along with a monthly charge for auto expenses. It is not against the law to allow a friend or relative drive your car under the permissive use policy. But, make extra sure that you are allowed to do this.  Every insurance company, and many states, have varying levels of coverage and liability when it comes to permissive use. This article is a good primer on it,

Even with that said, you always want to contact your insurance company. I have done this, twice, and both times, I contacted my insurance company to make sure that everything was kosher. This isn’t a big hurdle to climb, but some states simply say yes or no to the idea of permissive use.

The whole idea about making car sharing work is nothing new. It’s older than a Bluto Blutarski belch and as utilitarian as an old government mule. If you put even a minimal level of energy towards it, you won’t need a corporation to make it work.

Do you need faith in your fellow man? Meh. But if you pick your fellow man wisely, and don’t over-invest in the asset, you should be OK for years. A cheap government car that has been maintained right can offer a value proposition that is far better for most infrequent users than the ticking two-way time bomb that is trying to shop around town with a Zipcar.



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49 Comments on “Hammer Time: Screw Zipcar, Just Share A Govcar...”

  • avatar

    ZipCar also makes a lot of sense in the parts of the world where overnight parking is REALLY difficult to come by. Even co-owning a heap can be unaffordable if you have to pay a lot of money to park it.

    • 0 avatar

      You hit the nail on the head. When I lived in Chicago, it was so much cheaper to use Zipcar (and IGo) than own a car because parking was so expensive. Even the $250/month Zipcar plan was a great deal, as it included valet parking (in-and-out priveleges), gas an insurance.

      And honestly, how many people put on a great deal of miles on a monthly basis for non-commuting purposes? If you live in a city and don’t have to commute by car, car-sharing makes a lot of sense.

  • avatar


  • avatar

    Living in Deliverance, I can understand how you wouldn’t get zipcar.
    you need to imagine a place where you don’t need a car for any everyday purpose. things are in walking distance. Groceries can be delivered. Mass transit is available. And parking runs over $500 per month.
    A place like my neighborhood in Manhattan.
    Now I rent from Hertz (because it’s closer) and I probably spend $3000 a year for about 30 days of local rentals.
    But unless I want to value time to find parking at zero (which I don’t), I’m way, way, way ahead of the game. Even then, insurance around here even for a crown vic is probably not chump change either.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      I see where it makes sense in certain city and university environments.

      But it’s still a 1% solution that is being marketed to 99% of the population. The economics of actually sharing an older vehicle that is owned by one member of the group makes a lot more financial sense than the Zipcar model.

  • avatar

    Four young men sharing a full size sedan? The youth of Detroit are visionary.

    • 0 avatar

      Yowzer, @danio3834. In grad school I shared an apartment in Brooklyn with two other more or less youthful grad students and an alleged musician (not my style to say the least).

      We had enough IQ between us to have a surplus over normal that could have equipped another normal person, yet we had trouble sharing a kitchen and weekly chores.

      As last person in, for example, I was forced to accept a housecleaning schedule that just HAD to be done on my dart league night, never could figure out the reason that doing my chores midweek wasn’t good enough. HAD to be Tuesday. And it wasn’t as if someone had their bridge club coming over every Wednesday afternoon, or anything that tightly scheduled midweek.

      Unless the four people are in a band that is always going everywhere together, sharing a sedan has NO chance of working. And even then, the odds do not look good, even if there is only ONE bandleader. And when is the last time you heard THAT working out (working out, not just happening)?

      OTOH, my mentor shared a Cessna with three other professors/professionals, but they all agreed on a rotating weekly schedule change, with all out-of-schedule needs solely at the option of the holder of the rights for that week.

      But that was for an object that was deemed a want, and not a need, by all four participants. So I suppose a sedan MIGHT work, if they all agreed that they mostly only needed it to get out of Dodge one weekend a month. Anything else, I’ll take the contra side of that bet.

  • avatar

    As a Journeyman Mechanic , I made much $ fixing other people’s vehicles they’d loaned out or rented .

    Not one was ever repaid for amazingly stupidly caused damage .

    I’d never got for this , I’d sooner ride the Ghetto Bus where I live or maybe walk .


  • avatar

    Exactly why in the hell do I desire a Police Interceptor Crown Vic?

    2004-2011 model year (preferably closer to the latter), with it’s gas guzzling 4.6, goofy spotlight (okay, I’ll admit, I think its cool), and rubber floors??

    Low miles AND low hours and I’m in love.

    Am I the only one here who wants one just to beat the piss out of?

    After all, the interior has all the charm of a stripper F-150 :)

    • 0 avatar

      There’s no cheaper way to buy a 3 year old car, let alone something this size. They’re extremely utilitarian and under average driving circumstances get about the same fuel mileage as midsize crossovers that are so coveted. In mixed driving, you’ll see 19-20 mpg. The economics work out, especially when considering the low entry price, they’re just not fashionable.

      • 0 avatar

        All the thrills of driving a cop car look alike disappear on a two lane with solid double yellows and a paranoid stoner Volvaru doing 10 under in front of you.

    • 0 avatar
      Don Mynack

      Plus, you can pit fools. Try that in a Prius.

    • 0 avatar

      @raresleeper, a chance to beat the piss out of a stripper F-150 without the risk of intervention by the gendarmes? I plead the Fifth. Or I plead for a fifth. Or I need a fifth…oh, hell, just let me get my hands on one.

      Yeah, after lucking into a 97 Grand Marquis, the one thing I might really want more would be a later model, higher HP, better suspension and steering CVPI. But I haven’t seen the one on the link here yet.

      If it’s rubber floors and a detective car with a normal back seat, I’m drooling. On the other hand, if it has been rode hard and put up wet night after night, I’ll pass.

      Lightly used can mean improved. The four door sedan equivalent of a chickenhead, however, is best left alone, on the other side of the street. Never mind how hot the under the hood endowments.

      And I wouldn’t beat the piss out of it. Just hoon it til it squeals. But it looks like it is just asking for it anyway, so why not me?

      Fast and nasty, nothing wrong with that. You just have to be able to keep up the pace. And the price seems to be right, especially for the amount of fun promised.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    Having experienced a similar situation as you describe, I wholeheartedly support this sharing model.

    While in college, I somehow became the guardian of the keys to a less-than-licit ’78 Aspen, which through some other boarding student’s ineptness had no proper title, registration or insurance, all of which were fixed with the use of the then-new laser printer at the college computing center. As the dormitory level I was living on had become a general gathering area, I agreed to safeguard the keys to the orphan vehicle.

    Use was free, though the borrower was made to understand the serious risks involved for everyone should he or she suffer an accident or become acquainted with local law enforcement. Surprisingly, refueling duties never became a problem, as the hard-up students understood the value of the service being provided and we rarely saw the gauge drop below 1/4 tank. The /6 provided yeoman service, and O’ahu’s size (or lack thereof) ensured the only real work it saw was the hop over the Pali into Downtown Honolulu.

    With the heavy surfers driving around in their own communal ’66 Ford Falcon – perhaps you saw that one chugging around in the late 80s, festooned with the Maui & Sons shark logo over a rattle can white Rustoleum paint job – the Aspen was free to transport the rest of the campus denizens to their occasional haunts: a hop into Kaneohe for some groceries; Ala Moana and Waikiki for shopping and the beach; the all-important Jelly’s trip for those looking for some cheap used board games, music and comics.

    4 years and nearly 30,000(!) miles later, with my departure approaching and no one else willing to look after the burgundy beast, we simply left the keys in the ignition and a sheet of paper on the front seat with the word “enjoy” printed on it. My total expenditures during that vehicle’s guardianship came out to less than $1,000, which compares favorably to any sharing service today, even when adjusted for inflation.

  • avatar

    An excellent article. EVERYBODY should have a late model Crown Vic, preferably ex-cop or ex-cab. Ugly, unfashionable, cheap. Beats Japan every time.

  • avatar

    Your analysis of zipcar is simply wrong.

    First – the purchase by Avis is very recent – so implying they played the indie card while being a big corporate adjunct is not accurate.

    The 19 minute thing is strange since the minimum rental is 1 hour. You can have access to the car for a full 24 hours if you’d like. In addition if it seems likely you’ll run over the time you scheduled, the app allows you to add more time automatically – assuming someone else isn’t waiting for the car.

    In urban areas the money you save on excise tax, insurance, cabs, maintenance, gas (that’s included by zipcar), parking etc – makes it entirely viable. It really doesn’t require too much thought.

    Another benefit for people who like cars is that you can try out some nice cars and just have a fun day in the sun with a mini convertible if you’d like.

    What’s the beef?

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      It all comes down to money.

      I think that the Zipcar model is mostly inferior to other alternatives in the marketplace. The most cost effective of which is to just share an older vehicle and maintain the proper insurance.

      There are unique niches where Zipcar does have merit. The need to pick up something, or someone, an hour away and drive straight back. The metropolitan resident or university student who finds themselves in an area where parking costs are exceptionally high. Even folks who simply don’t want to own cars and rarely drive.

      I get that. I just don’t think the economics of the model work well for 99+% of the general public.

      There are severe limitations to Zipcar, and the hype of these types of programs (and others) are far greater than the reality that is long-term financial cost and overall convenience.

      • 0 avatar

        I think your analysis is spot on — except for your percentage. It’s a lot closer to 10% than 1%. And that’s a big difference.

        It makes sense in densely populated metros with adequate transit. Realistically, that’s Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, DC, Chicago, Seattle, SF, and parts of LA.

        I think the thing you underestimate, as an Atlantan, is the excruciating difficulty of procuring parking in these areas. In my town (an urbanized suburb of Boston, with the highest municipal population density in New England), a majority of housing does not have parking attached, as the area was built up before the automobile. If you don’t get parking with your house or condo or apartment, there’s pretty much nothing available for rent separately — and if you do find something, it’s going to run you $125 for an unsheltered space (probably tandem/obstructed), and $150-200 for a garage spot.

        Parking on the street is only a reasonable option for people who drive frequently. Street cleaning and “no storage” laws mean cars have to be moved several times a week. This is by design; street parking is very scarce. Some neighborhoods in Boston have one space for every four or five permits issued.

        These costs are not exceptional — not in these areas. If you don’t have parking, and take transit to work, then maintaining a car is a huge hassle. The cost of the car itself is simply not relevant.

        It’s no accident that I can see Zipcar’s first offices from my condo. The service is incredibly popular, both among people who do without a car, and for people who have one car but occasionally need a second.

        • 0 avatar
          Steven Lang

          Interesting response, and you do have some valid points. Although three of those cities (Philadelphia, LA, Seattle) tend not to be so pricey when it comes to parking for the average resident.

          So, even with that said, it is still a numbers and convenience game in the end. My orientation is more towards splitting the cost between four people for a used car and the related expenses. If you almost never drive, Zipcar is a worthy consideration. But if you drive 10 hours a month for 5 years, your costs are going to mushroom up to around $6000 for that period.

          A beater may likely cost you about a third to a half of that depending on your fuel economy, insurance cost, maintenance, depreciation, etc. Insurance for me worked out to about a dollar a day but that is not NYC, Philadelphia, etc. Even if it was $3 or $3 a day ($1100 to $1400 a year), I don’t see it as such a big expense when you’re splitting it between four people.

          Heck, the only magical thing taking place with Zipcar is the sharing of these costs into a new car, with all the corporate overhead and shareholder return demands that come with it. Throw in the right app and insurance policy, and the Zipcar model can be replicated with nearly any car.

          At that point, the key advantage with Zipcar may lie solely with the ability of Avis to buy new vehicles on the cheap, and sell them for pretty close to the buying price. If they can continue to do that, then the market will remain constant.

          The more interesting question is whether zipcar can ever devise a program that would make the cost of ownership lower for suburbanites. A per mile or per hour option in those areas may enable that to happen. But we would likely be talking about a program that offered transport for well under fifty cents a mile during the day, and I’m not sure if the economics of that idea would be on Zipcar’s side.

          • 0 avatar

            I’m paying about $1000 a year for insurance on my ’05 Mazda, though that includes collision. You’d probably want that in a sharing scenario, though — so let’s run with it. $150 a month for parking means $1800 annually.

            Taxes, registration, and parking permits only add about $200 a year for a beater, here, though that varies a lot by location. MA’s cost structure makes it very expensive to own new cars and very cheap to own old ones.

            Probably safe to assume pretty low mileage — maybe 5,000 a year, at 20mpg. That ends up at around $1000 for fuel.

            Maintenance and repairs, probably another $1000. Remember, no place to do work yourself.

            So that’s about $5,000 a year, or a bit over $400 a month, not including the cost of the car. For that, you could get 500 hours in a Zipcar, shared among the four. But, you have to handle the effort of sharing the car, scheduling, fueling, etc., all on your own — which is a lot of coordination. Add to that the fact that there’s a lot more turnover in urban neighborhoods than in suburban, and it gets easier to understand why people are willing to pay Zipcar a slight premium for a no-commitment, no-effort option.

            I could see something closer to what you’re talking about being a good option for certain existing affinity groups. E.g., my condo association has ~150 units and a shortage of parking. It would be nice if there were a service that would manage a handful of cars, Zipcar-style, for a private group.

          • 0 avatar
            Steven Lang

            $5000 / 4 people = $1250. Or just over $100 a month. If you spread out the 5,000 miles evenly, you’re looking at 25 cents a mile.

            If Zipcar can ever hit that 25 cent a mile mark, or even 35 cents, they will have a highly workable model that may go well beyond the cities and universities. We’ll see.

          • 0 avatar

            There’s a reason Zipcar charges by the hour — a typical use case might be a big stock-up shopping run, and might only involve 5-10 miles of driving in three hours.

            (It occurs to me that they probably get pretty decent resale prices for their cars…low mileage and mainly popular imports.)

          • 0 avatar

            I think you are WAY underestimating the cost of the correct type of insurance for a shared car. Each person would have to have their own policy, and if they don’t otherwise own a car that would get very expensive in urban areas. So for four people, more like $4K a year for insurance. And you have to have it, as otherwise, if any one person has an accident and kills someone, you are ALL on the hook for the damages. For that matter, a large dollar value umbrella liability policy would probably be a very, very smart thing to have.

            In rural or even suburban areas, I agree that Zipcar makes no sense at all. If I need a truck, I just borrow one from one of my truck owning friends. And similarly I have been known to lend a convertible out for that special date. But casually lending a car once in a while is a very different thing than a formal shared car. And then what happens if two people in the share group need the car at the same time? With Zipcar, there are cars all over the city, worst case you hoof it to the next available one.

        • 0 avatar

          Boston isn’t a particularly good example. I lived there for many years and the city itself is built on making drivers miserable. From godawful roads, to bad traffic, to very boneheaded idiotic drivers who can’t drive or park. City of Boston itself just loves to make drivers miserable with countless laws filed against drivers.

      • 0 avatar

        We live in central Toronto, and looked at the economics of car ownership as part of our location decision.

        Most of what we need is within walking distance or a short streetcar ride. My wife is a real estate agent, so she definitely needs a car for her business, but we’ve managed fine with only 1 car for more than 10 years. The money we spend on taxis and AutoShare (local carsharing business) is far, far less than the cost of maintaining a second car (which we could park in our driveway, so no extra cost for that).

        Heck, we spend much less on AutoShare than we’d pay to insure a second car, let alone operate it. Not to mention how easy it is to use this service.

        The people who live in urban areas are the vast majority, not a small “niche”, so our situation/experience is far from unique.

        Not to mention that clubbing 3-5 people together to share a car sounds like a great recipe for conflict.

  • avatar

    Yeah, the Zipcar analysis falls apart when you consider urban parking. Most Zipcars around here spend their idle time in parking spaces that would cost $150+ a month to rent. Add in another $100 a month for insurance, taxes, and miscellaneous expenses, and you’re looking at several multiples of the purchase price of that Taurus in yearly fixed costs. If you really only need a car for shopping trips and the like, 25 hours a month is pretty generous.

    That said, there’s an interesting alternative that’s starting up, called Relay Rides — they allow you to rent out your own car ZipCar-style, at a daily rate. They handle insurance and billing. I’m not sure the concept is fully baked yet, but it’s really intriguing.

    • 0 avatar

      +1 for Relay Rides. I used it when I wanted a Tundra for a light-offroading trip (dirt road up a mountain). The booking process was very smooth and the guy I rented from was cool (and recommended more hairy trails than I was comfortable with!).

      However, he had some horror stories, including $5,000 to repair the side of the truck after someone (with no experience with long vehicles) turned into a pole! Relay Rides covered the repair, but the truck was out for several days.

      • 0 avatar

        First I’ve heard of this. I’m totally whoring out everything I own on that.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s truly brilliant for trucks. Very few people need one daily (if you do, you know, but almost everyone that owns one doesn’t), but there are those times when you could really use one. Owning an entire truck just for the rare times you need one seems senseless. Among people around my age, few own and daily drive a truck, while almost every one knows (or is related to) someone they can borrow one from.

        This is probably why so many home improvement stores have rental trucks…

        • 0 avatar

          Good point TBR. RelayRides is a very solid car-sharing option here in southern California. I rented a Toyota pickup truck from an owner through RelayRides to move my daughter’s furniture from a dorm on campus to her new apartment. It was a very pleasant, inexpensive and convenient experience.
          In major metro areas, there also seems to be a lot of owners offering quite a large variety of late model popular cars and trucks in good condition. It seemed to me that these vehicles would make it a great resource for new car shoppers who want a longer term living arrangement with cars that they’re interested in compared to a test drive at a dealership

  • avatar

    One must consider the total cost of ownership vs. average cost to rent per month (or year). If you are live in downtown Toronto the annual insurance costs can be as high as the cost of the beater itself. Adding the exorbitant costs of parking and the high gasoline prices, monthly costs of ownership easily spill over $400. I use Autoshare, and on average spend about $100/month. It is obvious that you are paying a renter’s premium for the convenience of renting a car, and it is only a question of where that break-even point lies.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      Well put!

    • 0 avatar

      You’re also getting the convenience of renting a car that you can be reasonably sure will start every time and you’ll never have to take to the mechanic’s. I think Lang’s underestimating the market for Zipcar, it may not be huge but I think it will grow as people get accustomed to the idea. I considered it when we were a one-car family, but our situation changed before I pulled the trigger.

  • avatar

    For a downtowner in a walkable city with a viable transit system, these types of arrangements make a lot of sense. In Canada, Statscan tells us that the proportion of people aged 18 and over who went everywhere by car – as either a driver or a passenger – is about 75 percent. Looks to me like car sharing is a 25 percent solution.

    For the two or three days a month I use a car in Toronto (to get groceries for a party, grab some drywall from a hardware store, or take a drive out to the country for a picnic), it isn’t worth the cost of ownership. And when I need a car for two hours, or five, or 20, the cost-benefit analysis of a daily rental that needs to be parked somewhere overnight in my permit-only downtown neighbourhood doesn’t work either. The max day-rate for Autoshare (similar to Zipcar) is cheaper than a rental from Avis AND I can drop it off when I’m done…

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I think Zipcar makes sense in a pretty dense urban area, but not in the suburbs. The principal reason for that is avoiding the cost and/or hassle of parking and the fact that urbanized areas have pretty good transit systems, supplemented by readily available cabs. While I currently live in a large, empty (with my 3 kids having grown up) house in DC that has off-street parking, we’re seriously considering moving to Georgetown, a neighborhood of 18th and 19th century row houses. The smaller of these (which is what would make sense for us) do not have off-street parking. So, it very well might be that we sell one of our two cars and use ZipCar as a “second car.”

    Also, I believe some states tax cars annually as “personal property,” so there’s another cost of car ownership.

    Washington itself may be an exception to the general rule. Lots of people — especially young people — are moving into the city for work and the usual benefits the city offers. Crime is a fraction of what it used to be. The District of Columbia’s population actually has grown in the past 10 years, which is not the case for many cities that do not have the ability to expand their geographic boundaries, like cities in Texas have.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s not an exception — it’s part of a larger trend. In general, cities are growing faster than their suburbs:

      As another datapoint, the City of Boston has been growing its population at double the rate of Massachusetts in general — and Massachusetts is the fastest growing state in New England. Housing prices in transit-friendly areas of Boston didn’t decline much during the downturn, and in some towns a majority of home sales are now over asking price.

  • avatar

    I wish I could find one of these for $2500, they are $7500 on up in SE TX.

    As far as the article is concerned, a late model, unpopular beater car is always the best way to go, & yet almost no one can see the logic of it. Oh well, more beaters for me.

  • avatar

    I do question if an occasional driver should be behind the wheel of a Panther – at least most car sharing programs go with stuff that’s smaller and lower powered.

    • 0 avatar

      The Crown Vic is not exactly a speed demon – as I recall, when the Mercury Marauder came out it was handily stomped 0-60 by the V6 Honda Accord of the day.

      In standard form you’re talking only 224 hp with a massive 4127 lb curb weight.

      I would be more concerned with an occasional driver being comfortable with the pure size of the car as opposed to the horsepower. After all, they were the go-to vehicle for the elderly for quite some time so they can’t have been that much of a handful.

      • 0 avatar

        Sure about that? The Marauder used the 302bhp Intech 4.6 DOHC used in Mark VIII and Navi, not the SOHC 225bhp version found in everything else.

        “The Mercury Marauder was based on an updated version of the Ford Panther platform that was introduced for 2003. The Marauder had a naturally aspirated 4.6 L V8 DOHC Ford Modular engine producing 302 hp (225 kW) and 318 ft·lbf (431 N·m) of torque; this engine had many parts — including heads, cams, block and rotating assembly — in common with the 2003–2004 Mustang Mach 1 and the 2003–2005 Lincoln Aviator. The Marauder featured a dual exhaust system with MEGS tailpipe tips, with newly developed chassis and suspension modifications – such as moving the rear shocks outboard of the frame rails, which were later made available for the Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis. The Marauder was fitted with the 4R70W 4-speed automatic in 2003 and received the upgraded 4R75W 4-speed automatic for 2004. Both years featured the aluminum drive shaft from the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. The limited slip differential with a 3.55 rear axle ratio was standard fitment on all Marauders.”

  • avatar

    Insurance follows the car to a point, but the listed primary driver plays a huge factor in the rates and lying to the insurance company as to how is the primary driver and who will be allowed to drive the car is the primary driver of the rates. For example the liability only insurance for the car my 19 yo son drives which is just a boring V6 14 yo mid size sedan is greater than the full coverage insurance for our mid size sedan which my wife is listed as the primary driver despite the fact that my son’s annual mileage is less than 7500 per year and the car which my wife is the primary driver of is about 4 times that.

    So in the reality car sharing of a personal car is frowned upon by insurance companies and the rates could be significantly different if they knew that it was frequently driven by someone that is not named on a policy that they carry. Our insurance certainly would cover my son if he had an accident while driving one of the vehicles that my wife or I was listed as the primary driver of since we have coverage for 3 vehicles with my wife, son and I each listed as a primary driver of.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Unfortunately Steve’s numbers do not add up here in Southern Ontario.

    Insurance alone for a male under 24 on one of those cars would amount to between $3,500 and $6,000 annually.

    Calculate the cost of gas (at the current average price of $1.40 per litre), maintenance and parking.

    For $6 per month plus about $12 per hour, or $90 per day they can use a Zipcar which includes maintenance, gas and insurance. And you get to drive everything from a Corolla to a Mini, an A-4, a pick-up or a cargo van, depending upon your needs that day.

    The best part is when/if they do buy their own vehicle, they already have an insurance history/record (through Zipcar) and therefore will not be considered as a ‘new’ driver.

    Also the used car market is much different up here. Those used Crown Vickies up here would go for between two to four times the prices quoted. Too many willing buyers and not enough ‘good’ used cars. Remember that salt takes its toll and Canadians generally hold on to their vehicles a little longer.

    There are now 4 of these car sharing organizations in Southern Ontario, ZipCar, Cars2Go (Smart cars only), Autoshare and one located solely on university campuses.

  • avatar

    While I own a truck back home, I’ve been subscribed to Car2Go for a bit now, having no wheels when I’m working out of province is annoying, but I ain’t spending on a rental for the entire time I’m here.

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