What’s the difference between carpooling and carsharing?

When we read articles or content about new forms of soft mobility, we often come across the terms ‘carpooling’ and ‘carsharing‘. These terms are often mixed up or confused with one another. In this article, we’ll explain the difference between the two concepts.

The beginnings of carpooling

Carpooling, as the name suggests, involves sharing a vehicle for a common journey.
It’s a time-honored practice that doesn’t in itself require any additional technology. Two colleagues, for example, can agree to drive to work together, using a single car. However, car-sharing took off with the arrival of online platforms in the early 2000s.

Impact on the environment and the economy

By sharing a car, carpoolers reduce the number of vehicles on the road, which in turn reduces CO2 emissions and traffic congestion.
A 2017 study estimated that carpooling could reduce CO2 emissions by at least 1.6 million tonnes a year in Europe.

What is carsharing?

Car-sharing is a shared car rental system that allows users to borrow a car for a short period, often by the hour. Rental costs generally include gas, insurance and vehicle maintenance.

It’s a flexible mobility option that meets the needs of people who don’t need a car on a regular basis, but may need one occasionally for specific tasks.

Car-sharing requires an additional technological solution that enables access to a vehicle without the need for a physical key.
Carsharing is an increasingly popular option for companies, administrations and mobility specialists who have a fleet of vehicles and want to optimize their use in a more efficient and environmentally-friendly way.

How does carsharing work?

Carsharing is simple and straightforward. Users sign up for a service, reserve a car online or via a mobile app, and collect the car from a designated location. They can open car doors without the need for physical keys, thanks to a telematics application. The physical keys are located in a dedicated box inside the vehicle.

The user can then use the car for the duration of the reservation and return it to the designated location when finished.

The benefits of carsharing

Car-sharing has many advantages. These are particularly relevant to companies, local authorities and organizations that offer this mode of operation to their teams.

What’s more, every car-sharing scheme helps to reduce congestion and carbon footprint, as a single vehicle is used by several people.
According to a 2010 study, each shared car replaces around 15 cars in the same fleet. What’s more, carsharing encourages the sustainable urban lifestyles needed for the ecological transformation we’re implementing around us every year.

What are the differences between carsharing and carpooling?

Car-sharing and car-pooling are two distinct concepts, although they both aim to optimize the use of cars.

Car-sharing, as explained above, is a form of car rental where users borrow a car for a set period of time.
Carpooling, on the other hand, involves sharing a car journey with other people heading in the same direction, often to share fuel and toll costs.

For private customers

For individuals, carpooling is a common option for daily commutes, such as to work or school. Car-sharing, on the other hand, is better suited to occasional trips or specific tasks requiring a car.

For professionals

In business terms, carsharing can be a cost-effective solution for companies or any entity with a fleet, enabling them to reduce the number of company cars while offering flexibility to their employees. Business carpooling, on the other hand, can foster social ties between employees while contributing to the company’s environmental responsibility.

In short, although car-sharing and car-pooling are both focused on the efficient use of cars, they differ in the way they are implemented and used, for both private individuals and businesses.

What are the similarities between carsharing and carpooling?

Car-sharing and car-pooling share a common goal: to reduce dependence on car ownership. They promote more efficient use of these vehicles by minimizing the number of cars on the road, thus reducing traffic and greenhouse gas emissions. Both are also based on the sharing economy, emphasizing accessibility rather than possession. Finally, they both use digital platforms to facilitate intermediation between users, making the car-sharing process simpler and more convenient.