When you consider the number of people who make use of ride sharing services such as Uber on a daily basis you might immediately feel these services will have a negative impact on the overall sales of vehicles in the US, but there are those who feel differently. Logic would tell you that if more of us use a ride sharing service rather than buying our own vehicles the number of vehicles on the road would diminish, which is not argued at all by experts, but there is more to the equation than just the number of cars on the road.
In the US, and in many other countries, a vehicle’s lifespan has nothing to do with the actual year of the vehicle. Instead of this being the factor in determining the lifespan of a vehicle the life of a vehicle is measured in miles driven. Many of us who have multiple vehicles have one we drive for commuting to and from work on a daily basis, which is typically less expensive and replaced more often, and another we drive on evenings and weekends that we save for these times. By doing this we extend the life of our vehicles beyond what may have been expected originally.
With ride sharing services the expectation is vehicles will only last about three years because of the number of miles that will be driven on average for these cars. While there may be as many as 25 million fewer cars on the road in several years, the six to nine cars that a ride share vehicle replaces will drive more miles than all those would have combined. This means these ride share vehicles will need to be replaced at a much higher rate than most privately owned vehicles do now.
One factor in increasing the number of miles put on the ride share vehicles is the number of empty legs they drive. An empty leg is the miles driven with no passenger and unlike a city cab that typically can park at some of the more popular locations, ride share vehicles are a bit more on demand and must drive to the location of the passenger before heading toward the destination and the fare is not charged until the passenger is picked up and they leave for the destination. This increases the number of miles used for these vehicles significantly.
Another factor to consider is the number of car owners that make use of ride sharing. Rather than rent a car, this is a great way for business travelers to have a vehicle when they need one and catch a ride that doesn’t have to be present at all times. This offers a bit of freedom from the need to park or to carry keys and gives a passenger the opportunity to get work done on the way to the destination. This makes for a huge difference from the need to maneuver through traffic and can be extremely attractive to a business traveler.
While most ride share drivers use their own vehicle for the task, some, such as Uber X, are luxury vehicles to offer a higher class of ride. This ensures a limo service without the need to have lengthy contracts or high rental prices. It seems the ride sharing programs can have multiple positive effects on the automotive industry from the boom in sales and clearing the road of 25 million cars that don’t need to be there while offering the right solution to busy business travelers.