Cars are expensive to buy and maintain, and 95 percent of the time they sit unused. Fortunately for Californians, state lawmakers have the opportunity to make car ownership more affordable and practical.
Assembly Bill 2873 would support internet-enabled car sharing, which connects vehicle owners with consumers and travelers. These legislative efforts have been stalled by rental car companies, which want to preserve the status quo and prevent competition (“Don’t let startups play by own rules,” Viewpoints, April 23).
Californians have shared their personal cars nearly 74,000 times through the Turo service. Nearly half of Turo users joined to increase their mobility, while another 20 percent joined to earn money; the average user earns $539 a month by renting their vehicle for just 10 days.
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Car rental companies already have a number of advantages. While the average car owner pays $2,415 in sales taxes, companies receive more than $560 million a year in sales tax exemptions in California.
They also receive business incentives – in the past 12 years, more than $166 million in tax subsidies, abatements, grants and federal bailouts.
Car sharing is mostly between neighbors. Studies show that each car sharing vehicle may replace four to eight personal cars on the road. Turo partners with Liberty Mutual to provide $1 million in liability insurance and physical damage protection per vehicle, exceeding state minimums by more than $950,000.
By passing AB 2873 and supporting the car sharing economy, California can continue to empower consumers, support innovation and produce economic growth.
Kevin McKinley is director of California government affairs for the Internet Association, which represents the world’s leading internet companies. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.