Abstract Globalization hasimpacted nearly every aspect of life today. Supporting individual economiesaround the world, it has contributed to more efficient markets, increasedcompetition, and spread wealth more equally. Globalization has created newtechnological innovations such as digital platforms, which have beencontributing to the sharing economy,a market model, where items are shared by individuals who do not make full useof them (Horton & Zeckhauser, 2016). Globalization, nevertheless, has alsocreated some areas of concern, namely its impact towards the environment, interms of emissions emitted by vehicles, such as cars every year.
GetAround, the US leading P2Pcar-sharing platform, has both positively and negatively, contributed to apositive impact in the US environment, which through the use of literaturereviews, analyzed and explored: Towhat extent does the car-sharing platform GetAround, impact the United State’senvironment? 2. Introduction Globalization hasimpacted nearly every aspect of today’s life. Providing the support toindividual economies around the world, globalization makes markets moreefficient, increases competition, and spreads wealth more equally around theworld. Globalization has been creating new technological innovations such asplatform and has improved communication. Unlike dedicated web shops, platformsdo not sell products or services themselves. They instead create value bygiving access to software, a digital system of reputation and trust between supplyand demand (Van Alstyne, Parker, & Choudary, 2016).
Digital platforms donot only sell the access to software, they also give a rise to the so-called sharing economy, a market model, whereitems that are expensive to buy are shared by individuals who own them and donot make full use of it (Horton & Zeckhauser, 2016). While a few yearsback, sharing vehicles, such as cars, through platforms was not very common, asthe idea of “owning properties” was more accepted, sharing is gaining muchpopularity and wide spreading now (Cohen & Kietzmann, 2014). Nevertheless, on top ofthe positive impacts, globalization has created some areas of concern, namely itsimpact on the environment. Globalization has increased product demand, whichhas led to increases in product production and has put much stress on theenvironment.
Globalization has openedinternational trade, which on one hand has created many opportunities, but onthe other hand; this has also increased pollution as trading products involvetransportation. The amount of fuel needed for transportation is a majorcontributor to the increase in the pollution levels and the non-renewablesources of energy, petroleum, have caused severe problems to the greenhouseeffect. Withal, there are ways in which individuals can positively contributeto decreasing this problem in their everyday lives (Environment.co.za, 2013).
Namely by reducing the number of vehicle consumption, and instead, use thecurrently available vehicles more. North America launched its first car-sharingservice in 1998, and not long after, this notion was followed by morebusinesses throughout the USA (Greenblatt & Shaheen, 2015). One of the manyinteresting car-sharing platforms is GetAround, which has shown positivecontributions towards both the society and the environment. GetAround is a privatelyowned company, consisting of a peer-to-peer (P2P) car-sharing platform found bySam Zaid, Jessica Scorpio and, Elliot Kroo in September 2009, and launched to thepublic in May 2011 at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference. GetAround was createdto operate as a solution based on the notion of car-overpopulation, as thereare more than 1 billion cars in the world and the majority sits idle foraveragely 22 hours a day (Getaround, 2011).
GetAroundworks as an application in which renters can search for cars nearby using the GetAroundApp on either Android, Apple, or on the GetAround website. It is a freeapplication and for $5 an hour, members can conveniently access and save moneyon car payments, insurance, and maintenance (Getaround, 2011). Not long ago, just backin 2015, 27% of the USA Greenhouse gas emissions were caused by transportation,making this the second largest pollution contributor after electricity, whichwas only 3% higher (Pruitt, 2017). Research on GetAround has proven thatone-shared car, takes up to 30 cars of the road. Due to its technology,GetAround has grown more than 200,000 members across the US, showing that ithas and may continue to have a huge potential impact on the environment(Getaround, 2011). Throughout its entry, GetAroundhas shown notable environmental changes in the market, while expanding todifferent states making the impact even larger. Therefore this academic researchpaper will investigate: To what extent does thecar-sharing platform GetAround, impact the United State’s environment? This research paper consistsof a deep research through the use of academic articles and literature reviews,based on the car-sharing economy, where the GetAround platform is introducedand elaborated, as well as the impact car-sharing has on the USA environment, sinceGetAround is currently based in the USA only.
This paper is structured in threeclear parts. The first section consists of the introduction; the section after,the general background is introduced followed by a discussion on GetAround’simpact with the authors personal opinion. Finalized by the third section, wherethe limitations of the GetAround service and the answer to the central questionwill be discussed. 3. Theoretical framework of GetAround3.1General background Technology has advancedsignificantly fast over the past years and contributed to easier and fasteraccess to information. GetAround is all about the P2P car-sharing idea and has madeuse of the Google Application Engine to build its innovative marketplace where itlinks individuals who want to rent a car, to individuals who are willing to lendtheir car to offset ownership costs.
All cars, joining GetAround, get aninstalled device called the GetAround connectTM. This device letsthe owners receive a notification every time a customer is interested inrenting their car. The only job the owner has is to manage the car itsavailability through the App, notifying when the car is and is not availablefor sharing.
The interested individuals can directly book any available carswithout personally contacting the owner and can immediately unlock the car dueto the GetAround connectTM. Next, to this, car insurance is alsooffered, allowing the drivers to have a continuous and fun sharing experience. GetAroundhas served in the urban areas of San Francisco, Bay area, San Diego, Austin,Portland and Chicago, and is continuously working on expanding to new areas,currently to New Jersey. GetAround being a digitalfirm depends on a lot of its applications and has, therefore, a huge impact ontoday’s societies. As an individual, the present author believes that thecar-sharing platform GetAround has a huge impact on the environment becauseGetAround can become the new “trend” of transportation and have more businessplatforms create similar or identical ideas. This does not only contribute tothe sharing economy, benefiting both sides of the demand and supply, but thisalso impacts the environment as it reduces CO2 pollutants.
From the literatureand data analyzed, GetAround shows to have a strong position for further growthand expansion while sharing its mission and incentivizing the simple use. As explained by ThomasPuschmann and Rainer Alt, in the SharingEconomy, article, the sharing economy has been defined as a market modelbuilt on by the use of shared private products and services among individuals (Puschmann& Alt, 2016). The activities in the sharing economy have been said to fallinto four categories: the recirculation of goods, the increased utilization ofdurable assets, the exchange of services and the sharing of productive assets(Schor, 2014). P2P economic activities are becoming very powerful tools forcooperation in the production and consumption of goods and services. The commonidea of the sharing economy is the interest among participants, creating a moresustainable and fairer society (Schor, 2014).
The sharing economy ismore than just sharing goods and services; it has provided new innovationsconsisting of lower cost access to goods and services. In GetAround, car ownershave the opportunity to make money, reducing their ownership costs (The Economist, 2013). GetAround incentivizesindividuals to share their cars by the hour and day since the owners, therenters and the environment all benefit from this concept. On the demand side, individualsget access to cars in a more efficient way, allowing them to only pay forborrowing the vehicle instead of ownership costs.
The suppliers benefit, asthey are able to legally and ethically make a profit from joining the service. Justlike GetAround, all businesses have an objective, but how can this beevaluated? According to Rachel Botsman, there is a five-point criterion, whichconcludes whether a business contributes to the sharing economy. According tothese criteria, GetAround makes a strong case that it contributes to theSharing economy, because it is all about the idea of unlocking the value ofunused or rarely used assets, whether it is for monetary or non-monetarybenefits. GetAround’s mission is to reduce car-overpopulation and give humanitya more “own-less, use-more” vision (Botsman, 2015). In order to join theGetAround platform and make use of its service, GetAround’s website provides allthe important regulation details, both the car owner and the renter need totake into consideration. GetAround’s main regulations are divided into threesections, the basic eligibility (age and past violations), the USA driverlicense, and the international license.
Car pollutants cause immediate and long-term effects on theenvironment as harmful gasses and solid matter is emitted, which cause globalwarming and acid rain both, harming the environment and the human health. This,however, can be reduced and is also GetAround’s mission, as the platform wascreated by three entrepreneurial individuals who, when, in university werechallenged to positively impact one billion people in the next ten years.Looking to the future of transportation, they realized that the current the transportationmodel is not stable, and so they created GetAround to serve the world as asolution to the problem of car-overpopulation. With more than 1 billionvehicles in the world, which spend around 90% of its time idle. As acar-sharing platform, GetAround has a huge potential environmental impact (GetAround,2011).
GetAround’s intersection of the use of sharing and technology hascontributed to the idea and mindset of “own-less use-more”, reducing the numberof cars are bought, and instead increasing the use of already existing cars. Studies have shown thateach shared car can have a significant impact on the environment leading to a massivedecrease in congestion improving air quality. When GetAround was firstintroduced in San Francisco, over 100,000 cars were eliminated from theenvironment and was shared that the car-sharing service in San Francisco is asmuch a transportation solution as an environmental solution (Powell, 2014). 3.3Limitations of the GetAround service From the research doneabout GetAround, GetAround has shown to incentivize individuals about the ideaof buying less and sharing more. As sharing increases, theoretically, thisresults in a reduction in emissions.
Nonetheless, when analyzing the price andincome effects, perspectives change. As ownership costs are reduced because rentingis cheaper than buying a car, this might result in more driving because it is cheaperand easier to get access to a borrowed car, causing emissions to increase(Shaheen, Mallery & Kingsley, 2012). However, taking into considerationthat more cars are being rented out, this results in not everyone being able todrive at the same time. The oppositecase, where everyone owns a car and can use it when they want, this would causemore cars on the road and more cars standing idle, increasing wastefulresources. Therefore the author of this paper is in believing that the use ofcar-sharing services such as GetAround, positively or maybe negativelycontributes to a positive impact in the US environment. Next, to this, Ph.D.Shaheen from the Transportation Sustainability Research Center has shown in heracademic research, Carsharing trends and researchhighlights that the number of vehicles in the USA, have been decreasingsince 2015/2016 by which in 2017, there were almost 2,500 fewer cars comparedto 2016 (Shaheen, 2017).
In The Economist similar data was shared where a cleardiagram shows that the number of shared cars has dramatically increasedcompared to the number of vehicle production (Stanley, 2016). Greenhouse gassesdecreased from an average of 58%-84% to 34%-41%, showing a significantdifference, and if GetAround becomes more attractive, there will be more users,and so the reduction in emissions can become even larger. On top of this,GetAround has all the possibilities to grow even wider, since moreattractiveness, leads to more users contributing to this change. Also due tothe shared information on articles and reviews about GetAround’s service,individuals may feel safer and know what to expect when using the service (TheEconomist 2, 2013). In addition to theconcern that car-sharing may contribute to a negative impact towards theenvironment, another concern facing the sharing economy is that sharing cars istaking away car making jobs, as a decrease in car demand starts developing(Magne Skjelvik, Maren Erlandsen & Haavardsholm, 2017). Many carmakers havebegun to manufacture smaller cars in the hope of selling faster because theyare cheaper and easier to maintain. This shows that the sharing economy hasadvantages and limitations, which need to be taken into account before creatinga problem from fixing another (The Economist 3, 2016). 4.
Conclusion Toconclude, Globalization has led to many new opportunities; nevertheless, oftenthe impact it has on the environment is overlooked. Due to globalization, productdemand has increased, leading to the increase in product production while puttingmuch stress on the environment. Technology, international trade, andinnovations must take into account its impact on the environment as well. As massive amounts of emissions are emittedinto the environment every year due to these activities, in order to confrontthis problem, changes must take place. One-way society can support, is through carsharing. Asthe idea of the sharing economy has been growing, the importance of a use-more,own-less mentality has been introduced, resulting in fewer wasteful resources anda significant reduction in emissions, especially through the car-sharingservices (Shaheen, 2017). Continuing to drive growth in the existing markets, whileexpanding to more communities across the US, GetAround has given itself theopportunity to be significant and be known by individuals. Individuals do notonly get reduced car ownership costs, lend safely, rent cars when and almost atany location they want but most importantly, GetAround also allows for thecreation of a more environmentally friendly environment, with less pollutionand a reduction in wasteful resources which can be used for other purposes.
This idea, nevertheless,has been debated because when seen from different perspectives, the idea of itnegatively impacting the environment is raised. This was shown by Shaheen,Mallery & Kingsley as its believed that the reduction in renting vehicles,can become an incentive to drive more often because of cheap and easy access (Shaheen,Mallery & Kingsley, 2012). From analyzing academic research data, however, thedata which has been collected by researchers, clearly shows that one-shared cartakes a fair number of cars of the road, which evidently shows that car-sharingcan definitely make a difference to the problem of car-overpopulation which afterelectricity, is the second highest polluter in the USA. Car sharing has contributedto many opportunities. Yet, a possible future limitation, is that this concept,is cheaper and easier than owning a car, which may cause in job reductions, as vehicledemand will decrease.
However as technology is improving, and moreenvironmental cars are introduced, this may increase demand again. Futurepossibilities would be to have most cars be substituted by environmentalfriendly cars, and this would then have an even more positive impact on theenvironment. Going back to theresearch question, analyzing both the advantages and limitations of GetAround andits impact towards the USA environment, GetAround has shown growth as it beganas a small idea just back in 2009 and after having the possibilities to beshared in 2011, GetAround has since then been growing as a business positivelyimpacting society and the environment. Knowing that sharing one car may take upto 30 cars off the road, is very powerful when the USA environment concerns areincreasing due to the massive numbers of vehicles currently present. To gofurther into this research, it would be essential if GetAround shared more dataon how the single platform has been contributing to the USA environment, as atthis point, the conclusion that GetAround has created the environmentalimprovements only cannot be concluded. After all, GetAround is the currentleading car-sharing platform and has the possibilities to become even larger andshare its idea for more businesses to impact the environment positively.