Car Sharing Olympics Reconsidered

With car-sharing taking off in the Rose City, Portland now edges out Vancouver.

What a difference a few months make!

At the end of July, we gave Vancouver, BC the gold medal in our “Northwest Car Sharing Olympics.” Vancouver edged out Portland in our rankings, largely because Vancouver had three mature car sharing services with a variety of pricing and membership models. Portland also had three services; but its peer-to-peer car sharing service, Getaround, was just getting off the ground, with only about 70 cars available for short-term rental at the time we looked.

Fast forward just two and a half months, and Getaround’s car availability has nearly quintupled.  The service currently offers 328 cars in greater Portland, including both the city and the suburbs. And no matter where you are in the urban core, it seems like there’s a peer-shared car within a few blocks’ walk.

To me, this shows the tremendous power of peer-to-peer car sharing.  Most cars spend most of their time parked, so there’s a HUGE potential for rapid ramp-up: even if only a small share of car owners are willing to rent out their rides, that still means a massive untapped market for car sharing. And short term rentals are the sort of voluntary transaction in which everyone wins: car owners earn a bit of cash, while people who don’t want, or can’t afford, a car of their own can get a convenient, temporary set of wheels. Cool!

So I think it’s probably time to reconsider our car sharing rankings for Northwest cities: now that Portland’s Getaround service has reached critical mass, I think that it’s time to move the Rose City into the gold medal slot for Northwest car sharing.

(Full disclosure: Sightline board member John Atcheson used to be an employee of Getaround.)

We are a community-supported resource and we can’t do this work without you!

Read more in ,


  1. Carsharing Dave says:

    We are still are a long way from the variety of services in Berlin, Hamburg and several other cities in Germany. For example, Berlin has 3 round trip carsharing services – Cambio, Flinkster (run by DB – the German railroad) and Greenwheels (a Dutch company) + 3 one-way/on-demand services – car2go (from Daimler), DriveNow (BMW; recently opened in San Francisco) and Multicity (Citroen; pure EV, only Mitsubishi iMievs).

    • Carsharing Dave says:

      Oops, I forgot: there’s a 4th round trip carsharing company in Berlin – Hertz On Demand.

    • Clark Williams-Derry says:

      Thanks for the info! I wonder if there are parts of the world that do even better than Berlin…

      Sadly, it doesn’t surprise me in the least that there are cities that far outshine any Northwest metropolis in car sharing. If there were a world car-sharing Olympics, I don’t think we’d even be in the running for the bronze.

  2. Amanda says:

    After moving to Portland 4 years ago, I sold my car to commute via bike or bus and have not looked back since. Well, okay, kind of…

    There are days when the bus is too dang slow, and others when I’m just too tired to bike-out multiple errands. On such days, I find myself painfully nostalgic for a car! However, I’m adamant about living a more simple life-one less dependent on convenience and fossil fuels, and more upon my local community. That being said, I decided to explore car sharing and found several options. After a little digging I decided to pass on the big guys like Zipcar,(aka Avis), and Car2go,(aka Daimler-Chrysler), and went with GETAROUND!!!

    I have been a FREE Getaround member for the past year, and quite honestly it has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have met incredible people and connected with my community in ways I never imagined. My experience has reminded me of how generous people are, and how amazing something as simple as sharing can be.

Leave a Comment

Please keep it civil and constructive. Our editors reserve the right to monitor inappropriate comments and personal attacks.


You may add a link with HTML: <a href="URL">text to display</a>