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When it comes to local transport, there are more than a few options out there and the days of needing to own a car are rather far gone. However, it is worth looking at the differences between those available options. In this post, I will examine Zipcar versus Uber and see their differences and similarities and which one suits you best.

Zipcar is a car hiring service, and Uber is a ride-hailing app. Both offer you an alternative to owning your own vehicle, but prices differ significantly. With Zipcar, you pay a monthly membership fee, while with Uber, there is no subscription; you only pay when you ride. 

When it comes to which of these two you are going to opt for, we have to consider some aspects and weigh them against one another. So, it is worth mentioning these and then going a little deeper than surface level. You mainly need to consider the frequency of use and the extent of your trips, so come along as I dissect the differences between Zipcar and Uber.

The Right Choice Between Zipcar, Uber, And Even Owning A Car

It all comes down to the basic math, which considers the factors I have just mentioned. So if you need a ride multiple times per week and intend on driving for at least an hour at a time, then Zipcar is your go-to option

Surprisingly, the next cheapest option would not be Uber, but instead purchasing an economical vehicle of your own. Reaching even further into your wallet is Uber, though.

Interestingly enough, all the way up until your 12th hour-long journey, Zipcar will remain your cheapest option. After which, the idea of purchasing a car then becomes noteworthy. At this point, you would be better off buying your own vehicle and incurring additional expenses such as insurance. Something to be very aware of is that Uber will remain your most expensive option. 

Side By Side Cost Comparison Between Zipcar And Uber

As discussed, there is a definite divergence in terms of the costs you will incur according to each of the options mentioned above:

  •  Zipcar will cost you between $1,000 and $3,000, depending on your usage.
  • Purchasing your own vehicle, you are looking to spend between $7,000 and $8,000 per year.
  • Uber will come in at a remarkably high $8,500 to $9,500 each and every year that you use them (if your variables are constant).

If you intend to use either Zipcar or Uber daily and incur far greater mileage and time spent driving, then neither of these options will work in your favor. Sure it is far more hassle-free going with one of these options, but your bank account will thank you for purchasing an affordable vehicle in the long run. 

 The Fundamental Differences Between Zipcar And Uber

Their business models and the way they function, as well as the services which are offered, differ a great deal. Zipcar provides you with a car for a start, which you usually have to walk a block or two to reach. While Uber supplies both the vehicle and the driver, you get picked up at your desired location. 

Zipcar is fundamentally a short-term car rental service; the primary difference is that the process is far more streamlined and at your fingertips when compared to traditional rental. It will likely come as no surprise that Zipcar is actually a division of Avis; Avis Car Rentals own them. To be eligible to hire a car from them, you need to meet basic requirements and then pay a monthly membership fee.

You are also charged an additional fee based on the time you use the car, and there is a mileage rate. Now Uber is somewhat different; first of all, I must note the price surge times as this will also be a factor worth considering. If you require an Uber when there is high demand, you will have to fork out more for a trip that would usually cost far less

So, with that aside, let us talk about Uber and what they offer. One perk with Uber is that there are different packages, and one is a ride-sharing aspect. With Uber, you are chauffeured around by individual drivers who either own the car themselves or are hiring it from someone else. And in some cases, they possess a specialized license and will drive a car tailored to the package you choose. 

If you are willing to share a ride with others and do not mind the potential inconvenience of waiting while they are either picked up or dropped off, it could be a viable option for you. However, if you intend to get around with Uber, you should do so infrequently.

What You Need To Know About Zipcar

Zipcar is a car-sharing service, and though you do not end up owning a car, you can drive various vehicles, usually located quite close by. There are thousands of cars to be found, and their pricing works on different rental packages from hourly to daily. 

Aspects of Zipcar:

  • You incur a monthly fee (there are different packages).
  • Your driving record and identity are checked and verified, meaning this could take up to a few hours.
  • You have the freedom to hire a vehicle when and where it suits you.
  • You then use the app on your phone or your Zipcard to access your booked car.
  • You do not have to worry yourself with all the extras of owning a vehicle, such as insurance, maintenance, and parking. 

It is not as quick and streamlined as Uber when signing up for membership. So if you desperately need a ride, and are not yet a member, then it is better to opt for Uber. Once you have been approved, though, you can start making bookings immediately.

 As great as Zipcar is, it is not all black and white, and there are some fine print components that you need to be aware of, such as a rule on refueling if you return it with less than a quarter tank. Additionally, there are caps on how far you may drive per day. 

What You Need To Know About Uber

Uber has a long-standing run, and they were started back in 2012 and have become increasingly popular since then.  

Aspects Of Uber:

  • Using Uber is that it works to your benefit if you only use them seldomly and then only for short trips. 
  • Another reason to use Uber is if you do not possess a driver's license 
  • Or perhaps if you are very new to the city and do not know your way around.
  • The drivers receive reviews from previous passengers, so you can get an idea of what to expect from each driver.
  • The drivers have to adhere to Uber standards (even Uber Pool which most hate) .
  • Usually, a driver is near your location at any given time, so you are likely to be collected within minutes of ordering the ride. 
  •  You can order your ride with just your smartphone.
  • Make payments with a card, so you do not need to worry about carrying cash on your person.


The frequency at which you plan to use either service will affect your long-term choice. Zipcar will be your ideal choice if you drive every other day. If you only need the odd trip now and then and are not traveling too far, Uber will be your go-to. Additionally, though, do not dismiss owning a car entirely, even though both options allow you to avoid this altogether.