Zipcar tests pay-per-mile pricing system for short trips

The car-sharing company is looking into a cheaper option for those quick errands.

Zipcar currently charges per hour to rent a vehicle from its fleet for a short time. The company is also testing pay-per-mile pricing in a few US cities, but there's no indication as to whether or not the new structure will be widely available in the future. As The Verge explains, the pilot program is actually a combination of the two pricing methods. You can rent a Honda Fit in Chicago for $4.50 an hour during the week or $5.50 an hour on the weekends, both of which tack on an additional 50 cents per mile. With regular pricing, a Nissan Versa costs $10.75/hour on a weekday with a 180-mile allotment before extra fees kick in.

The Fits are only available for hourly use, at least in Chicago, and Zipcar sees the new option as a solution for all the times "you just need to make a short trip." Of course, if that drive is more than about 10 miles, you'll be better off with the regularly-priced vehicles. If your destination is within a couple miles though, this could save you some coin while Zipcar is looking to keep pace with ride-sharing and other car-sharing options. Earlier this year, the company announced it would allow customers to keep a vehicle as long as they wanted while changing drop-off locations and destinations as needed. That service will be available in Michigan by December, a direct answer to GM's Maven car-sharing initiative.