Getaround
, the Silicon Valley peer-to-peer car-sharing service that launched last year, officially debuted the service in Portland, OR, this week and said the U.S. government will conduct a car-sharing study that will pay people as much as $300 to rent out their cars.

The company, unlike car-sharing service leader Zipcar, doesn't own the cars and instead connects car owners with potential renters. Getaround collects about 30 percent of rental fees, which are set by the car owners but usually range from $4 to $10 an hour. Getaround's website shows San Francisco Bay Area customers that are part of the company's Beta testing renting Mini Coopers for about $7 an hour, though one Tesla Roadster owner is asking for $75 an hour. Getaround provides insurance for the vehicles and ensures that renters don't need to meet the customers by installing a remote-operated unlocking system for the vehicles.

Late last year, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) awarded the company and the city of Portland $1.75 million to help launch the service. Some analysts have forecasted a surge in car-sharing as gas prices rise and cities become more congested. Zipcar, which went public last year, in 2010 citied a Frost & Sullivan report estimating that North America car-sharing revenue would jump more than tenfold to $3.3 billion in 2016 from $253 million in 2009. Such growth prospects lured traditional rental car companies like Enterprise and Hertz into the industry.
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Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing Company Getaround Officially Launches in Portland, OR
Through Federally-Funded Study, Owners and Renters Can Receive Incentives of up to $300


PORTLAND, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, leading peer-to-peer car sharing company Getaround announced the official launch of their peer-to-peer car sharing service, and the launch of a federally-funded study of peer-to-peer car sharing in partnership with the City of Portland and the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC). The announcement came at a special press conference hosted by Getaround's founders, Portland Mayor Sam Adams and U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer at Portland's City Hall. At the event, Getaround provided details about specific incentives available to owners and renters participating in the federally-funded study, including cash payments of up to $300.

"We are excited to be launching into a city known for its greener approach and to be a part of a movement to help unclog roads while simultaneously helping put money back into the local economy."
.Getaround was selected by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) this past December to participate in a joint initiative with the city to use $1,725,000 in federal funding to launch and study peer-to-peer car sharing in the greater Portland metropolitan area. The launch marks Getaround's first expansion into a major market outside of California and the first federally-funded study of peer-to-peer car sharing.

"As a city that has long championed alternative modes of transportation, we are excited to officially launch this first-of-its-kind car sharing partnership with Getaround," Portland Mayor Sam Adams said. "Peer-to-peer car sharing will not only help Oregon reduce car overpopulation, but Getaround's service will also help connect Portlanders, while reducing our carbon footprint."

"This launch marks the beginning of an exciting new trend of eco-friendly, collaborative and market-based solutions to everyday challenges," said U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer. "Peer-to-peer car sharing has proven to be a creative and successful trend that will continue to grow and help shape the future of environmentally-friendly legislation."

"We are thrilled to have been selected to receive the first federal grant awarded to a peer-to-peer car sharing company," said Getaround co-founder and CEO, Sam Zaid. "We are excited to be launching into a city known for its greener approach and to be a part of a movement to help unclog roads while simultaneously helping put money back into the local economy."

Getaround enables car owners to "un-idle" their cars and offset the cost of vehicle ownership by sharing with friends, co-workers and neighbors, while people seeking cars are provided easy, affordable access to vehicles everywhere. Getaround differs from other car sharing services in that the cars are owned by friends and neighbors, not a corporation. Getaround provides an open marketplace that gives owners total freedom over their vehicle's pricing, availability and selection of renters. Additionally, the Getaround Carkit™ and iPhone app together make it easy for members to conduct entire transactions using only their smartphone. The service provides community and financial benefits to both owners and renters, backed by the peace of mind of A++ insurance carrier Berkshire Hathaway.

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Signup: Getaround is totally free for renters and car owners to join with no membership fees. Get answers to frequently asked questions and sign up to participate in the pilot program in Portland, OR at http://www.getaround.com.

About Getaround

Getaround specializes in providing a seamless, peer-to-peer car sharing experience by providing proprietary smartphone and in-car technology that empowers members to safely and easily share vehicles. For as little as $3 an hour, members can conveniently rent nearby cars by the hour, day, or week, and save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on auto payments, insurance and maintenance. Car owners can offset the high cost of ownership while making a positive impact on the environment. http://www.getaround.com