Increase in European Carpooling Marks Larger Trend

Two European carpooling sites recently gained the favor of venture capitalists, who point to years of declining car ownership independent of the current economic recession.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What's the Latest Development?

Two European carpooling companies, BlaBlaCar and, are poised to change how people in the developed world travel, thanks to investment from several venture capital firms. According to an article in the New York Times, more than 1.4 million rides are booked monthly between the two companies. Unlike their American counterpart ZipCar, the European versions involve car owners who offer seats for a fixed price. In fact, hopes to start its service in the United States soon.

What's the Big Idea?

Writer Derek Thompson uses graphs to show that, contrary to belief, the trend away from car ownership has been going on for 20 years in Europe, Japan and Australia. Increased gas prices and migration to cities are behind the trend. However, auto manufacturers aren't losing sleep just yet: "[H]alf of last year's new car sales came from developing economies, for whom [the concept of] 'peak car' is a date far in the future." Not too far, according to Thompson: The slowing of growth in countries like China and Brazil, along with established public transportation systems and the continued rise of gas prices, means that group travel is still a convincing alternative.

Photo Credit:

Related Articles
Keep reading Show less

Five foods that increase your psychological well-being

These five main food groups are important for your brain's health and likely to boost the production of feel-good chemicals.

Mind & Brain

We all know eating “healthy” food is good for our physical health and can decrease our risk of developing diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease. What is not as well known is that eating healthy food is also good for our mental health and can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety.

Keep reading Show less

For the 99%, the lines are getting blurry

Infographics show the classes and anxieties in the supposedly classless U.S. economy.

What is the middle class now, anyway? (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs

For those of us who follow politics, we’re used to commentators referring to the President’s low approval rating as a surprise given the U.S.'s “booming” economy. This seeming disconnect, however, should really prompt us to reconsider the measurements by which we assess the health of an economy. With a robust U.S. stock market and GDP and low unemployment figures, it’s easy to see why some think all is well. But looking at real U.S. wages, which have remained stagnant—and have, thus, in effect gone down given rising costs from inflation—a very different picture emerges. For the 1%, the economy is booming. For the rest of us, it’s hard to even know where we stand. A recent study by Porch (a home-improvement company) of blue-collar vs. white-collar workers shows how traditional categories are becoming less distinct—the study references "new-collar" workers, who require technical certifications but not college degrees. And a set of recent infographics from CreditLoan capturing the thoughts of America’s middle class as defined by the Pew Research Center shows how confused we are.

Keep reading Show less