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Best Bets Daily: Thursday

Wheel Deal

Posted February 24, 2005
I've got a new car: that eco-conscious hybrid, the Toyota Prius, that we've all been hearing so much about. When I want to drive it, it only costs me $10 an hour (or a maximum of $69 a day), and I never, ever pay for gas, parking or even insurance. The Prius is one of the newest vehicles in the fleet of Zipcar, the internet-based rental car service that's been steadily gaining fans in New York. Like, it's one of those internet-boom-era brainstorms that's turned out to be a damn fine, life-improving idea. I signed up entirely online and got my credit-card-sized Zipcard in a matter of days. The incredibly simple reservation process is also done entirely online, and you can always choose to rent the same car if you want (not just the same model, but the exact same vehicle). Then you just go to where it's parked—usually in a 24-hour parking garage near you—ask the garage attendant to show you where your car is, and then wave your Zipcard over a reader in the corner of the windshield. Voila. The doors unlock and the ignition is enabled. You drive away without having to stand in lines, deal with surly rental agents, or fuss over any paperwork whatsoever (your credit card is billed automatically). The annual fee to belong is just $50; there's a one-time application fee of $25 and a refundable $100 deposit. And right now, to celebrate the expansion of its New York fleet with not only the Prius but four new Volvo S40s, Zipcar is offering Best Bets Daily readers a special $25 driving credit for signing up before March 31.

Register at and enter code "NYMAG" to get your $25 credit, which will automatically be deducted from your account after your first rental.

Register online