Owning a car costs an average of $8,776 annually, according to the American Automobile Association. That is based on 15,000 miles of driving and includes fuel, insurance, maintenance and depreciation.
Car rental companies will rent wheels by the month for as little as $589, according to Orbitz, which amounts to $7,068 per year — not including fuel, which is a major cost.
If you want to skip the bus, but still save on transportation costs, you could consider using a short-term vehicle rental service.
These vehicles are rented by the hour (or sometimes by the minute) and the rental company picks up all the usual costs of car ownership.
Short-term vehicle rental is an emerging trend that is currently only available in select big cities, but it is expanding. Here are the major operators:
This subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler, rents tiny Smartcars for 38 cents per minute or $13.99 per hour. You also pay a one-time $35 membership fee.
Renters can book one of the two-seaters online, or use a membership card to open and drive off in any of the blue-and-white painted cars they find parked around town.
Car2go pays for gas and when renters are done using the car, they simply park in any designated space, usually located downtown or in heavily trafficked areas, and walk away.
Car2go currently operates in six North American cities and a dozen European cities.
This company operates like car2Go, except it rents more than 30 different types of vehicles.
Rates vary by location and plan, but in San Francisco, for instance, the occasional driver plan requires a $60 annual fee, $25 application fee and hourly rates of about $8.50.
Zipcar operates in 20 major U.S. cities as well as Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain and Austria.
This is a joint venture led by BMW that features the German automaker’s all-electric ActiveE sedan.
Renters pay a one-time membership fee of $39 and, after picking up the car at a DriveNow station, $12 for the first 30 minutes and 32 cents for additional minutes for a one-hour rate of $21.60.
DriveNow is available in four German cities and San Francisco.
Modo is a car-sharing co-op that requires a $20 initial registration, fee plus $50 per year and $7.50 per hour for rentals.
Renters pre-book vehicles in half-hour increments and pay penalties for late returns, cancellations and no-shows.
Modo rents a variety of vehicles, but only in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Hertz on Demand
This service is an hourly offering of the world’s largest car rental company. It requires no annual fees and charges hourly rates ranging from $5 in Boston to $8 in San Antonio.
Renters pick up and drop off vehicles, which include Nissan’s Sentra, as well as Chevy Cruze and Malibu models, at designated Hertz On Demand locations.
Hertz On Demand is in a dozen U.S. cities as well as the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Germany.
This startup charges $10 to join and $5 per month, plus $5 per hour to rent two-wheeled electric scooters, complete with helmets.
The service is available only in San Francisco and environs, and the scooters are only suitable for single passengers traveling at less than highway speed.
Breaking Down the Cost
The average adult spends just under an hour driving daily, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
Based on average short-term rates of about $12 hourly, the typical adult driver could spend $4,380 per year on short-term rentals, which is less than half ! the cost of owning a car, while still driving the same amount.
Hourly car renters sacrifice some convenience and still must pay for parking tickets, lost membership cards and other incidentals.
But, for people who live where short-term rentals are available, drive the average amount or less, and don’t need a car at their beck and call, short-term rentals appear to offer an inexpensive way to get around.
DON’T MISS: The 10 most dangerous states for drivers >
Last week, we reported that a staggering 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Now, engineer Craig Mansfield has worked out how much it would cost per year to pre-screen all that video for copyright infringements—and the answer is close to that of Google’s annual revenue.
Mansfield calculated that a team of 199,584 judges—or equally qualified individuals—would be required to watch and rule over the video, which in turn would cost $36,829,468,840. For comparison, Google’s revenue for 2011 was $37,905,000,000.
Image by Rego – d4u.hu under Creative Commons license
Americans are watching longer and longer online videos, according to comScore’s monthly online video stats. The average length of online videos viewed has risen a minute and five seconds since September alone. This is good news for video advertisers, as viewers tend to see more ads when they watch longer shows.
This is primarily the result of Americans watching more longer-form content on the web, like TV shows on Hulu. It is important though because longer videos generally include more advertising. Hulu, for example, is the largest server of online video ads, but only shows about 5 percent as many videos as YouTube.
The number of ads per mid length video—defined as 5 to 20 minutes long—rose 63 percent last year, according to FreeWheel. For videos longer than 20 minutes, the number of ads served more than doubled.
Fast-charging an EV isn’t new in itself, but deciding on a standard for it is. Which is why we’re glad to hear that Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Ford, GM, Porsche and Volkswagen have all agreed to a common format for their EV charging ports, the not-very-elegantly-titled DC Fast Charging with a Combined Charging System. Together, the automakers are promising a consistent way to power up a car within 15 to 20 minutes, all without breaking a current Type 1 AC charging implementation. The new format will be demoed at the Electric Vehicle Symposium 26 in Los Angeles starting May 6. Just be aware that your first-generation Focus Electric won’t be certain to use the newly universal technology: the first cars to tout the new plug won’t be at dealerships until 2013, and the European vehicle association ACEA is only guaranteeing that charging stations on the continent will be using the DC Fast Charging system by 2017. Check after the break for a further look at the port.
Amazon has had a content development division for some time but today it’s announced plans to expand from just movies to developing (and distributing, via its Instant Video service) original comedy and children’s series. The new focus follows the competition like Netflix and Hulu which have both dived headlong into developing original TV show-style content that mirrors the content consumers seem to gravitate towards on streaming services. According to the press release Amazon Studios is willing to option one “promising project” per month for $10k and pay $55k to a creator if their series is selected for distribution. Submissions of 22-minute pilot scripts for comedies and 11-minute pilot scripts for children’s shows are being accepted, which Amazon will either option within 45 days or the creator can choose between pulling it back and leaving it up for community feedback. There’s more info at the site or in the press release after the break, but just remember: if we see any series picked up about dashingly handsome tech bloggers and the fast-paced lives they lead, we’re coming for our cut.
Amazon Studios expands into TV series, looks to load up on content for streaming origin! ally app eared on Engadget on Wed, 02 May 2012 12:29:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
PepsiCo’s plan to increase profit margins for its Tropicana orange juice is simple: Just add water. Apparently some consumers are already doing that on their own, in order to get a less-thick or lower-calorie beverage. “They themselves add water before drinking OJ,” a PepsiCo exec tells Bloomberg. “So why not add the water ourselves and charge for it?” Tropicana lost market share to Coca-Cola Co.’s Minute Maid and Simply Orange brands after PepsiCo repackaged its juice three years ago.
Now, instead of continuing to compete in the 100% juice category, PepsiCo will focus on different products with higher profit margins. One such product—Trop50, which contains 42% orange juice and uses a low-calorie stevia-based sweetener—has already been successful. Says the exec, “We have lost perspective here on the primary reason we are in business, which is to make money.” Consumers will always know what they’re getting, thanks to strict FDA juice labeling guidelines.
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If Kenneth G. Lieberthal were anything but a China expert at the Brookings institution, his travelling-in-China security procedures would read like the product of a paranoid mind that watched too many spy movies as a kid:
He leaves his cellphone and laptop at home and instead brings “loaner” devices, which he erases before he leaves the United States and wipes clean the minute he returns. In China, he disables Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, never lets his phone out of his sight and, in meetings, not only turns off his phone but also removes the battery, for fear his microphone could be turned on remotely. He connects to the Internet only through an encrypted, password-protected channel, and copies and pastes his password from a USB thumb drive. He never types in a password directly, because, he said, “the Chinese are very good at installing key-logging software on your laptop.”
Talk about overkill, right? Well he’s not alone. The Times reports that these seemingly paranoid precautions are par for the course for just about anyone with valuable information including government officials, researchers, and even normal businessmen who do business in China.
But what about the rest of us? I may not have any valuable state secrets or research that needs protecting but that doesn’t mean I want the Chinese government snooping on my internetting when I visit my grandparents (especially when the consequences can be so severe). In the past, I’ve relied on a combination of VPNs, TOR, and password-protecting everything I can, but now it sounds like even that isn’t enough. Or maybe it’s totally overkill given my general unimportance in the grand scheme of things. Dear readers, I ask you, how much security is enough when it comes to the average person on vacation? [NY Times]
It uses the same principle as your Brita filter to purify water, but Black+Blum’s Eau Good bottle does it with way more style using a stick of charcoal that’s always visible through the bottle’s lovely curves.
Known as Binchotan, the black stick is a type of carbon made from tree branches, which the Japanese have been using to soften and purify water for centuries. It can even reduce the amount of chlorine in your H2O, though the passive process does require quite a few hours to work its magic. So it’s recommended you leave the Eau Good bottle sitting overnight before drinking. We recommend staring at the bottle while it works.
To prevent the charcoal from floating to the surface, the $20 plastic bottle has been designed with a slight bulge on the side, keeping the $4 Binchotan stick submerged at all times. It’s promised to work for up to 6 months before it needs to be replaced, while a quick 10 minute boil at the 3 month mark will help ensure its effectiveness. And when it does stop working, you can of course just toss the charcoal stick in your garden, where mother nature will recycle it for you. [Black+Blum via bookofjoe]
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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