The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

HOURCAR gets second car

By Peter Wright

The HOURCAR in the Patagonia parking lot isn’t lonely any more. The Neighborhood Energy Connection (NEC) has added a second car to its Macalester hub, in part due to funding from the college’s High Winds Fund.The Toyota Prius hybrid is one of two that have been added to the program’s fleet of rental cars, aimed at giving an alternative to car ownership and reducing emissions. The addition makes the Macalester hub, the first in the Twin Cities out of 17 locations to offer more than one vehicle. Ari Ofsevit ’06, HOURCAR Program Manager for the NEC, said that the car was added due to a big demand at Macalester, and because of the sponsorship from the college.

“Since lowering the eligibility age to 18 this past summer,” Ofsevit said in an e-mail, “the Macalester car has seen increased usage from students, faculty, community members and college departments.”

Ofsevit said that one of the Macalester groups that has been using the program is the Civic Engagement Center (CEC). He said that volunteers working through the CEC have been able to replace gas-guzzling van rides to their volunteering sites with the HOURCAR.

The Macalester hub has been operating since the start of the 2006/2007 school year, and was started in part with support from the High Winds Fund, Macalester spending account for community projects. High Winds Fund Director Tom Welna said in a press release from the NEC that it made sense to help the program expand because the first car was a big win for the campus.

“The first car was an experiment,” he said. “This additional car is a necessity. Car-sharing at Macalester has been a huge success – it’s a win-win-win for the entire Macalester community.”

Welna said that the program has not only helped students find transportation easily, but it has helped increase better methods of traveling among all the members of the community.

“It has lowered the demand for parking on campus and in the neighborhood by encouraging more faculty and staff to carpool and bus to campus; and it provides students and neighbors an economical and environmentally friendly transportation choice,” he said.

HOURCAR now has a fleet of 18 hybrids, a number they are hoping to increase to 26 in the near future. Each hub is sponsored by an organization, in this case the High Winds Fund, which is match in its financial support by the McKnight Foundation.

According to its website, people can use an HOURCAR by becoming members, paying a monthly fee and covering the fuel they use. Members are allotted a certain number of hours and miles based on how much they pay each month. They can reserve the car for designated periods of time through the program’s webpage.

Anyone who is interested in joining the program can find out more at

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