U-Haul’s car sharing program, U Car Share, introduced its lineup of vehicles on Dec. 16 to drivers in Salt Lake City. Car sharing reduces the demand for parking, creates greater environmental sustainability and allows people to remain mobile.

U Car Share allows members to access its cars 24/7, thus eliminating the need to own a car. Members pay only for what they use, in one low hourly rate starting at $4.95 per hour (plus mileage starting at $0.49 per mile). U Car Share takes care of fuel, insurance and maintenance costs. Hourly rates that include 180 miles free per reservation range from $8.50-$11.50 per hour, depending on the vehicle.

"Car sharing supports the city's long-term economic, environmental and social sustainability goals through increasing balanced transportation options and green alternatives for residents and visitors," said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. "I encourage participation as we focus on solutions to create a more sustainable city."

Anyone 18 years or older with at least two years of driving experience may qualify for membership in U Car Share. Local Salt Lake City resident Carla H. said, "My husband and I have been able to be car-free for three months now, thanks in part to U Car Share! We sold our vehicle in August and use public transportation during the week, but have been using U Car Share for running errands and going up to the mountains. We're grateful that this service is available and have been pleasantly surprised with how easy it is to use."

U Car Share will be providing the following 12 EPA SmartWay certified vehicles: one Ford Escape Hybrid, four Ford Focuses, four Mazda 3s, one Ford F-150 (not SmartWay Certified but great for utility) and two Toyota Priuses. The vehicles will be located conveniently in labeled parking stalls. All of the vehicles, except for the F-150, qualify for the Salt Lake City Green Vehicle Parking Permit Program and will have the green sticker on the vehicle. With this latest addition of 12 vehicles and four being added at the University of Utah and the already existing 12 car share vehicles along the TRAX brings the total to 28 U Car Share vehicles.

Members will be able to access the vehicle with a U Car Share membership card. They will be able to log on to ucarshare.com at any time and reserve any vehicle of their choice. Members can reserve cars for as little as an hour, at any time of day. Gas and insurance are all included in one low hourly rate starting at $4.95 per hour (plus mileage starting at $0.49 per mile). Daily and hourly rates with included miles are available, as well.

"Helping to create greater sustainability through shared-use vehicles is another way of showing our commitment to our community," exclaimed Michael Kemp, president, U-Haul Company of Utah. "We are excited to be working with Salt Lake City on this project and being able to make a difference in our community."

For a limited time, the one time membership fee is reduced to only $5.00 for all residents (a $20 value). Log on to ucarshare.com today and enter promotion code CITYSHARE when signing up. (This promo code will expire on January 15, 2010.) Research shows that every shared car on the road can replace up to 15 personally owned vehicles. This means that fewer cars will need to be manufactured, fewer cars will be on the road and the community's carbon footprint will be reduced. Car sharing is fast becoming a critical element of the transportation network in many cities and universities, enabling residents, students and businesses to get rid of their cars while still meeting their transportation needs.

U Car Share is also available in: Portland, Maine; Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.; Madison, Wis.; Berkeley, Calif., Portland, Ore., Weston, Mass.; Eugene, Ore., Regis College, Weston, Mass., and the University of Utah, Salt Lake City. For more information about U Car Share, log on to ucarshare.com or call 1-877-990-8227.