First Zipcar experience

Alright, our family has enjoyed Zipcar so far. We have done 2 short trips and 1 out-of-town trip, and here’s what we think.


We live a block away from one Zipcar, 3 blocks from another, 6 blocks from another, and 8 or so blocks from many more. What we like a lot is our proximity to their hybrid cars. We love hybrids! We used to own one.

Range of cars

For the out-of-town trip, we chose a Subaru and I was wary about the mileage because it has been years since we used a non-hybrid car. We got it with gas a little over half full and arrived in Cannon Beach, Oregon with plenty more to last us. We filled it up the next day and when we arrived in Portland, it still had 75% gas. I was impressed about that. From Cannon Beach, we headed up to Warrenton for the night, drove to Astoria, crossed the state line to Washington, and back to Oregon via Highway 30.

I definitely feel that I have all of these different cars for our use! No need to worry about being limited. It’s cool not to think about that. It’s like owning many cars! The cars we’ve rented are clean and were returned on time, which makes us all the more considerate.


The Subaru was rented for 2 days at $83/day including gas. Hybrids cost $71/day I think. We also wonder why a Honda Insight rents for a bit more than a Toyota Prius for their hourly rate. Prius costs more on the market than an Insight would. Just a thought.

What we didn’t like about the rates is having each member of a group pay annual and application fees. I’m the primary account holder and got my application discounted for using the Chinook Book, but my husband paid for $25 application fee and a pro-rated membership fee of $58. Obviously both of us would be paying for annual fees, albeit on different rates.

He looked at getting his own account through his employer, which he was able to and they credited back the $25 and $58 in my account. He also found out that rental rates through his own account is cheaper than a regular account, which I have.

180 miles a day

That’s the daily limit or you could be paying 45c/mile on top of it. It just means that we can’t really go very far with it. I don’t think it’s that kind of rental car anyway. If you’re looking for long-term rental, Zipcar may not be the right one for you.


It’s good for the niche it is serving. It fits our need for a car, which is not on a daily basis. We are going for a week of road trip this summer and we’ll look at renting a Zipcar for 7 days. We believe we can undoubtedly rent one for 4 days, so we’ll see if we can be accommodated for a week. If not, we’ll just have to rent a Prius from Toyota. Having this kind of service available to us gives us no reason to buy a car just yet. Every rent we make is a conscious decision and we’re quite lucky that we don’t feel the need to own a car to prevent us from enjoying a rental.

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