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Oregon law could boost car sharing

With vehicle insurance rates in B.C. expected to rise along with gas prices, perhaps more people will be looking for more flexible options when it comes to driving.

They could look to Oregon for examples, where a proposal is currently before the state Legislature that would make sharing easier for people who want to loan or rent their vehicles without the risk of legal liability.

Bill 3149 would allow what's known as peer to peer car sharing. Under current Oregon law, which is similar to ICBC rules, the car owner is legally liable and can face higher insurance rates if they loan their car to someone else who gets in an accident.

The proposed Oregon law would offer a system that includes separate, short-term insurance for the borrower, and will even allow car owners to rent out their vehicles. (In B.C., car owners are not allowed to rent their car to someone else). California passed a similar law last fall.

Membership-based car sharing services like Zipcar and Modo (formerly known as the Car Co-op) are another option for British Columbians who don't own a vehicle but need one occasionally.

Last summer, a Vancouver filmmaker launched an online petition urging ICBC to launch a pay-as-you-drive pilot program, that would allow motorists to cut down on costs when they reduce their mileage.

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

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