Burning a gallon of gasoline adds 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, to the atmosphere. Sonya Newenhouse, founder of Madison Environmental Group, was troubled by this fact and determined to learn more about the effect cars have on our environment.
Sonya heard about carsharing from a friend in Portland, Oregon, and, within 20 minutes, decided to test the idea on the Madison market. Madison Environmental Group conducted a feasibility study.
Six months later, Sonya accepted the challenge from the book Divorce Your Car; she launched a 6-week trial separation, then divorced her car in the spring of 2001. The decision was easy after she calculated that renting a car for her weekend errands was cheaper than owning her paid off Honda Accord.
With the help of local investors, Community Car launched in Madison, Wisconsin, in October 2003. Since then, the company has expanded its fleet from 3 to 15 vehicles, welcomed thousands of members, and developed a vibrant, local carsharing organization that provides Madison area residents with an affordable alternative to car ownership.