Rising gas and insurance costs plus limited parking make owning a new car in the Boston area expensive. As good as Boston’s mass transit is, though, it can’t be used for every single trip a person has to take, so having access to a car makes life much easier.
Using mass transit could also result in some very long trips if you have to travel outside Boston into neighboring cities. One solution to this dilemma is to share a vehicle. Car-sharing schemes are becoming more common across the country — in fact, across the world — but you do not have to wait for a car-sharing company to open up shop in Boston before taking advantage of car-sharing.
If you are in a house with several roommates, for example, you can have one or two cars shared by the entire household. Everyone could chip in for gas, maintenance and insurance costs, and whoever needs the car could “reserve” it ahead of time. Nissan has several models that are suitable for sharing, each with respectable mileage, state-of-the-art safety features and creature comforts that make driving a Nissan quite enjoyable.
There are smaller cars like the Sentra and Versa, which provide room for large grocery-shopping trips and a few boxes of flat-packed furniture or gardening supplies that someone might have to transport back home; if a bigger vehicle is needed for someone in the home who transports musical equipment around, there are the SUV-style like the Nissan Murano and Nissan Pathfinder. Those truly dedicated to reducing gas use can take advantage of Nissan’s electric Leaf.
Boston already has a number of car-sharing services, such as Relay Rides, where you can rent cars from people in your neighborhood; iCar, which is a traditional car-sharing service with its own fleet of vehicles; and Zipcar and Mint, two other traditional car-sharing services.
These can work well — if you are a member, and if you have the cash available to cover the cost of using the car. Even if the service automatically charges your credit card, you have to be sure you have enough money to pay the bill. These services also require that you leave the car in a particular area, either in a designated spot that could be far from your home, or in a specific service zone, which again, might not include your immediate neighborhood. So, after using the service, you could very well find yourself having to take additional transportation home.
Having your own car shared among just you and your housemates eliminates these issues. Obviously, if it is your car, you will end up at your home when you are done with it. And remember, as long as the car has some gas in it, the travel itself will not require that you have available cash.
The biggest difference may be use in an emergency, though, as you will no longer have to worry about running across town to a service area or car rental place to find an available vehicle. This is very important to remember because with car-sharing services, you could end up in situations where there are no available cars, or where you need to use the car for a long enough time that the cost is prohibitive.
Depending on what you need to do, having access to a car at home that is shared by only a few people may be a better choice for you. Buying a car like a Nissan gives you that option and removes a lot of the concern.
The continuously variable transmission provides the handling of a manual with the driving ability of an automatic, so there’s no worry about loss of handling or housemates who can’t drive a manual transmission. Mileage in a Nissan is at minimum in the mid to upper 20s for city driving and in the 30s for highway driving.
These features make it possible to have access to a car in the Boston area while reducing the amount of aggravation parking and fuel costs can normally bring.