The typical American driver spends no more than an hour a day behind the wheel, effectively paying to let that vehicle sit idle most of the time, when they could be making $500 or more a month sharing it with strangers, according to General Motors.
The Detroit automaker is using its car-sharing service Maven to pilot a new peer-to-peer service in three Midwest cities. It allows GM owners to share their Buicks, Chevys and Cadillacs with other GM customers.
Maven already has 150,000 registered subscribers that it serves with a fleet of GM-owned cars, trucks and crossovers. As part of its plan to expand, Maven wants to sign up GM owners with vehicles from the 2015 model year or newer and give its customers access to those, as well, splitting the rental fee.
"It's time to put your car to work," said Julia Steyn, vice president of GM Urban Mobility services and Maven, adding that "your car is one of the most expensive things you own. Sitting idle, it is a wasted asset."
Indeed, considering that data service Edmunds estimates the average new 2018 model went for around $34,000 last month, that's a lot of money tied up in a vehicle you don't use all that much.
With the sharing economy, there's growing demand for transportation alternatives. For some folks, the answer is simply to tap a smartphone app and call for an Uber or some other ride-hailing service. But others prefer to drive themselves, and ride-sharing services provide an alternative to traditional car rental companies for those who might only need a set of wheels for an hour or two.