By Kate Jones

Car-sharing is the new green way of getting around town and plenty of small businesses are getting a slice of the action. But how is this new trend cutting into the auto industry?

Surging petrol prices and growing inner-city populations are driving a rapid growth in Australia’s car sharing industry. In the five years to 2012-13 industry revenue soared to $43.1 million, according to research company IBISWorld. Further data shows industry growth in the same period was an annual 25 per cent, but is expected to slow slightly to 18.7 per cent.

Car-sharing is already big business in the US and Europe, where car sharing began in the 1990s. In fact, the popularity of car sharing overseas has seen many motorists ditch their privately owned car. Researchers at the University of California found one car share vehicle replacing between six and 23 cars in the US and four and 10 cars in Europe.

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