|Zipcar car illustration|
(Scroll down for video) More companies are offering consumers the option to rent a car by the hour.
Sharing a car used to mean pushing into cars with coworkers in the neighborhood carpool, or perhaps borrow the keys from a friend to run a quick errand.
Now, car sharing services have a whole new look, and are ready to zoom in popularity because they offer alternatives to the millions of people who want to use their own vehicles.
A recent study by research firm Navigant Research predicts that the number of members, who will subscribe to car sharing services around the world, will soar by more than 420 percent by the end of this decade, from the current 2.3 million to more than 12 million.
It expects global revenues to grow even faster, from an anticipated $1 billion this year to $6.2 billion in 2020.
To tap the market potential, Hertz, Avis and others traditional car rental companies recently purchased companies in the short-term car rental space, such as ZipCar. Daimler AG has its own car sharing service, car2go.
Car sharing services offer an alternative to the traditional approach of renting cars for those who need a vehicle for just one hour, instead of those who want a car for one day or more. In most cases, customers have access to parking lots and even cars parked on the street.