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Zipcar expands its market in Europe

The popular car-sharing service Zipcar is planning to expand even farther into Europe with the purchase of a similar U.K. service called Streetcar.

Last year the company, based in Cambridge, Mass., bought into another car-sharing service in Spain and said it now has a base to grow its European market even more. Both European companies will operate under the Zipcar name.

Zipcar charges an hourly fee to rent vehicles ranging from Mini Coopers to sport utility vehicles in urban neighborhoods. It has 360,000 members in cities and college campuses in 28 locations in North America and Europe.

Streetcar, based in London, began in 2004 and now operates in 1,100 locations in eight U.K. cities. Its rates start at about $7.50 an hour for a small vehicle, plus an annual membership fee of about $90 that covers insurance, gas and roadside assistance. The pay-by-the-hour model is ideal for travelers who want a car for a day trip without the hassle (and expense) of renting a vehicle for their entire trip.

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