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Zimride into the sunset

by Cristina Foung

My favorite green product of the week: Zimride’s Carpool Community

What is it?
Zimride is a carpooling community. It lets you find and share rides, figure out whose route is on your way, and intelligently pick who you get in a car with (whether or not you know them before hand). You can even use Zimride either directly through Facebook.

Why is it better?
According to the 2005 American Community Survey, almost nine out of 10 workers prefer to get to work by car. Unfortunately, most people are in those cars alone, 77% in fact. And we all know that driving alone isn’t stellar when it comes to gas prices or carbon dioxide emissions. That’s why carpooling is a great option. But what if you don’t know anyone going your way?

Zimride basically makes carpooling easy, efficient and safe. If you’re looking for a ride, all you have to do is type in where you’re coming from and where you’re going (and when). You can see who has an extra seat in their car or perhaps figure out a regular ride-share with someone. If you’re posting a ride, you specify what your driving style is, if your car is smoke-free or not, even how loudly you listen to music.

The beauty of using Facebook to find a ride (or give a ride) is that there is already some pre-existing trust. Before you get in a car with someone, you can see their picture or if you have any friends in common (and if you don’t like what you see, you’re certainly not committed to an awkward car conversation). Unlike existing ride share boards like Craigslist, your new carpooling friend doesn’t have to be an unknown entity beforehand.

And even if you don’t want to open up your car to a stranger, you can use Zimride to coordinate with folks you already know offline. That way, you don’t have to trade endless strings of emails.

In either case, Zimride makes carpooling so easy that you really have no excuse not to.

Where can you find it?
You can check out all the Zimriding going on at Zimride’s stand-alone site or through their Facebook application. Best of all, it’s entirely free.

Besides her green products column on Cleantech Blog, Cristina is a passionate advocate for green living at the Green Home Huddle at Huddler.com, which focuses on electric cars, organic personal care, and other green products.