CoMoUK report highlights growing popularity of car clubs

Data gathered from operators shows that membership of car clubs in the UK has more than doubled since before the pandemic, growing 122% between 2019 and 2023.

A new report from shared transport charity Collaborative Mobility UK (CoMoUK) shows that people who join car clubs cut their total driven mileage by 153 miles per year.

It calculates that each car club vehicle operating in the UK last year replaced 26 privately-owned cars, equating to an overall reduction of 116,339 vehicles, freeing up 134 hectares of road space across the country, close to the size of London’s Hyde Park.

The data was collected through a car club members’ survey, which was completed by 12,525 respondents and a car club operators’ survey which gathered data on operational vehicle usage.

The number of active (those members who had used a car club at least once in the previous year) car club members has also increased now stands at 339,017, with 258,570 of those being in London and 80,447 in the rest of the UK.

Of that 339,017 figure,  299,989 are individual members and 39,028 corporate members.

The top reason members gave for using a car club was ‘I don’t need a car very often’ which applied to 78% of respondents. Second was ‘I wanted to avoid the
hassle of ownership’ and third, ‘I wanted to reduce my environmental impact’

The vast majority of members don’t need to make use of the car clubs often, 74% saying they had used it between once and five times in the previous 12 months. Only 7% had used one more than 25 times in that period.

Similarly, they are particularly used for shorter journeys, 43% of all car club hires being for less than an hour, with  17% lasting between one and two hours.

Other findings include:

  • Almost half (48%) of car club members would have used a taxi or hired a car for their most common journey if they did not have access to the service
  • More than a third (35%) said they used a bike at least once a week, significantly higher than the general population (14%)
  • 35% of publicly available car club cars are fully electric, compared to just 2% of private cars
  • Using electric vehicles through a car club can save people around £5,600 per year compared to owning one
  • All car club vehicles are less than five years old, meaning they comply with the UK’s Low Emission Zones

Richard Dilks, chief executive of CoMoUK, said: ‘Our latest research shows that car club membership across the UK is growing strongly, as more and more people enjoy the benefits that a ‘car light’ lifestyle can bring.

‘Regular users tell us that they are saving money, avoiding the hassle that comes with owning a private car and reducing their carbon footprint in the process.

‘Car clubs also help to make people more active, with members more likely to walk or cycle short journeys than those who have access to a private car and use it by default.

‘The wider benefits to society are clear: a nationwide expansion of car clubs will help to cut congestion, free up space in towns and cities and encourage more public transport use.

‘With the general election now only a matter of weeks away, we would like to see the next UK Government acknowledge the carbon-cutting potential of car clubs and get behind the sector so they can be rolled out as widely as possible.

‘Encouraging this cultural shift is becoming all the more important if the UK is to accelerate the transition to net zero and meet its climate change targets.’

The report can be downloaded here

Paul Day
Paul is the editor of Public Sector News.


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1 month ago

Car clubs brilliant idea except if you live in Staffordshire were the country council seem to have little interest in car clubs.

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