Boulder couple encourages car-sharing program

By Robert Ford
Sierra Club RMC Member

Careshare Robert and Juliette Ford
The Fords enjoy car-sharing advantages
Photo by eGo CarShare

My wife, Juliette, and I are serious about finding innovative ways to reduce our carbon footprint. We would like to share what we are doing to make that happen and encourage others to consider taking these actions in your life—one of which is car-sharing.

We moved to Boulder in 2001 and have been a one-car family, while using bikes and buses for additional transportation. Our car, a Toyota Sienna minivan, had to do everything for us, including pulling our pop-up camper.

Although our car was able to do everything we needed, it was not very fuel efficient. We mostly drove the van in the city with just one or two people; infrequently we used it for camping. Last year, we figured out a way to increase our efficiency and still have only one car.

We heard about a special car-sharing program called eGo CarShare, a volunteer-based Colorado 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides and promote alternatives to individual car ownership. Available in the Boulder-Denver area, we decided to take advantage of the program. Here are the three steps we took:

  1. We leased a Nissan LEAF electric car rated at 130 MPGe in the city.
  2. We added more solar panels to our home, providing complete solar electricity for the house with enough extra to drive the LEAF about 3,500 miles. When the solar company installed the solar panels, it also upgraded our electrical system and installed a 240-volt car charger.
  3. We used eGo CarShare’s Loanation Program for our Sienna, In return for the loan of our car, we received credits to use any of their cars including the Sienna.

The Loanation Program was right for us since we specifically wanted to use the Sienna since it was modified to have an auxiliary battery and can pull our camper. We drive approximately the same number of miles as before, but now the car we take closely matches the trip.
We use the LEAF for all normal driving in both Boulder and Denver. If we need to go farther than the LEAF can go comfortably, we take a CarShare Prius or other car. If we wish to pull our camper or take extra passengers, we take the Sienna. If we have larger things to carry, we take a CarShare pickup truck. We have enough credits that we have not had to pay for any CarShare vehicle.
You don’t have to loan (or own) a vehicle to use the eGo CarShare program, which provides vehicles on a wide-ranging fee scale for hourly, daily, monthly or as needed use. More information is available on the organization’s Website.

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