Buying versus renting a car

We almost bought one. But then we thought: does it really make sense to OWN a car these days? What about Zipcar and the like?
Of course the guys at Zipcar have some great arguments to consider renting in lieu of owning. Even Jeffrey agrees.
What do you think?
If we decide to NOT own a car, and therefore rent: which would be the best option?
1) Zipcar by the hour/day
2) A normal rental company, by the day/week
3) Wheelz / RelayRides ?
4) Else?
Thanks for any suggestion!
(p.s. we live in the Mission, San Francisco)

Update:
5) Another option is Getaround.com (similar to Zipcar)

Zipcar also has more interesting plans (the 125 $ / month seems great).

Also, I found out that a “normal” car (e.g. Ford Focus) can cost up to 800-900 $ a month, when you include everything (car cost, depreciation, insurance, fuel, maintenance, fees, etc). See screenshot below.

1 Comment

  1. AdamD · January 3, 2013 Reply

    In a city like SF, you can easily get away with not owning a car. But even in SF, there are some times when you’ll need one. Rather than buy now, why not try some of the various car share options for a couple months? Keep track of what it costs, but also the associated hassles–finding an available car, going to the car location, getting the car back in time, etc. Then compare that to what owning would be like. Remember to include some of the costs and hassles of owning–car payment, insurance, gas, parking (potentially at home and work), moving for street sweepers, maintenance. My guess is all of this will really add up. But everyone puts a difference price on the convenience of knowing you have a car ready to go at any moment. I’ll be interested to see what you do!

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