Peer-to-peer car sharing is coming to Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. - A new car sharing program is launching here in Portland, one where folks can rent out their own vehicles and make a little cash on the side.

Getaround was founded two years ago in California and now they'll be operating in the Rose City as well.

The company received a $1.7 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration to study car sharing and Portland is their next big market. Getaround has already established itself in the San Francisco Bay Area and San Diego.

The idea behind peer-to-peer car sharing is that your car spends most of the day just sitting doing nothing but by renting it out during the hours you're not using it, you can help keep fewer cars on the road and put some money in your pocket at the same time.

At an official launch in Portland on Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-3) said the ultimate goal is to give people more choices.

"It's not, as some would suggest, that we are declaring war on the automobile," he said. "But we've decided we're not going to surrender to it."

"Portlanders on average save about, just shy of, $900 million a year because we as a city drive about 20 percent less than comparable cities," Mayor Sam Adams said during the press event. "And that savings stays in the pockets of Portland households."

Getaround co-founder Sam Zaid spoke as well and said what they do not only impacts the environment, but also connects people, strengthens communities and gives folks more financial freedom.

"Positively impacting people's lives is what excites us," he said. "And I can't imagine a better city than Portland for that. You already have such a strong sense of community, a culture and tradition of embracing sustainable transportation."

Prior to Jan. 1, 2012, renting your own car out to people wasn't legal in Oregon. House Bill 3149, which was passed last summer, now allows it.