I am one week into my Zipcar experience and for a car-dependent yet socially aware individual trying to be more green, it has been a dream come true. I first heard about Zipcar from a friend who wanted to test drive a prius, not necessarily to become more green but to obtain the clean air sticker to drive in the carpool lane for his commute between San Francisco and San Jose. (sidebar: they have actually run out of the clean air stickers, but the prius is still in demand - check it out here.)
I pride myself on being an early adopter and couldn't wait to jump on the zipcar bandwagon. For those who know me, I am somewhat dependent on my car. Whether it is the freedom that it provides or the fear of public transportation, I am not sure, but I have tried my best to embrace my car-less urban lifestyle. Again, it has only been a week and in that time my parents came to visit me and actually ended up renting a car (which they got upgraded to a Cadillac) so in reality, I can claim no carbon offset, but my combo of zipcar and public transportation has been surprisingly quite manageable.
As far as the actual Zipcar experience, it was so convenient I was amazed. I am all about the user experience and from the reservation process to getting the gas (which they pay for via your annual membership fee) the zipcar folks have thought of every possible step and made the experience fun and easy. I was even able to extend my reservation by 30 minutes at the last minute. There were a few moments as I was singing in the car that I thought maybe someone was watching me and got a bit self conscious, but for the most part you couldn't help but feel like a green hipster (and trust me, I'm not:-). From the amazing key feature where you simply place your zipcard on the windshield to unlock the door to the few remnant reminders like the pair of men's running shoes in the back that were left from a previous zipster, I couldn't help but feel part of a unique collective community all in the name of green. Evidently, 40% of zipsters either sell their car or stop a purchasing decision of a car because of Zipcar. I don't know if I am there yet, but it may not be too far off (if zipcar makes it to austin:-) Today, I dropped off my Honda fit (which is the cutest car ever!), grabbed my Sigg water bottle, and my Whole Foods reusable shopping bag and headed up the hill to my apartment. I realized that while I may appear just a stereotypical LOHAS consumer, I felt a small sense of pride of embracing the innovations that represent the green values that I so much believe in. And if nothing else, my fear of public transportation has been conquered!