Penn: Car-sharing times two

Folks at the University of Pennsylvania have been waging a battle, of sorts, with the automobile. As part of a broader sustainability effort, they've been trying all sorts of things to reduce the use of cars and get more cars off-campus so they can have room for other things -- like grass, for instance.

In 2008, Penn partnered with PhillyCarShare. Now, Penn has added a second car-sharing service -- ZipCar, Inc. It brings the number of cars available on or near campus to 82.

The cars are self-service and can be reserved and accessed 24 hours a day. And don't you love this: There's an iPhone app that will honk the horn so the person who has reserved it can find it.  The app also unlocks the door.

The hourly and daily Zipcar rates, which vary by the vehicle selected, include fuel, 180 miles per day, insurance, reserved-parking spots and roadside assistance. Cars can be reserved for as little as an hour or for as long as four days and are available to members starting at $7 per hour or $65 per day. 

More details: Members of the Penn community can open a departmental car-share account for business use or sign up for a personal membership. The annual membership fee for a personal account is $35 each for Penn affiliates, who will receive a $35 free driving credit applied toward the first month of driving.