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Shop Smart With Car Share

On Friday we told you how to shop smart with reusable tote bags, but here's another way to make sure your shopping sprees have a low environmental impact: car sharing. These membership-based programs are a great way to get access to a car without the hassle of owning or renting one. I personally am a huge fan of San Francisco non-profit City CarShare, which I use for shopping trips, Goodwill drop-offs, and even moving. But there are two national car-sharing providers, Zip Car and Flexcar, which have cars in a number of U.S. cities, including Chicago, Washington D.C., Toronto, San Francisco, Boston, New York, and more.

Both services let you reserve cars online by the hour or the day, and gas, parking, and insurance are included in the fee. You can pick up the cars—including cool models like Mini Coopers and Toyota Priuses—at various locations around town. Pricing structures differ somewhat depending on the provider, so to learn more about how the programs work, visit the Zipcar and Flexcar informational sites here and here. You'll never have to beg a friend for a ride to Target again.

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