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Drive Your Way to Savings

One car is in the shop, your husband drove the other one to work, and you desperately need to get to the drugstore for a diaper emergency. You could try toilet-training your baby a couple years too early, or you could try something easier: With just two clicks of your computer mouse or a single phone call, you can get a car within minutes and rent it by the hour through Zipcar, a new (and not-your-usual) car-rental service.

Currently operating in New York, New Jersey, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Denver, with plans for further expansion, Zipcar has rental cars parked in various spots throughout the cities. If you live in one of these areas, there may be a Zipcar sitting in a reserved parking space just a few blocks from your home. And depending on your city location, you can rent a Zipcar for $4 to $12 an hour  -- less than a taxi!

Here's how it works: A Zipcard allows you access to the car you reserved, during the time you scheduled to use it. Each time you drive, your Zipcar account will be charged automatically. Zipcar covers members for gas costs and insurance (just be sure to bring your own car seat for your child). For city dwellers with kids, being a Zipcar member (sign up at www.zipcar.com) can save you hundreds of dollars a year on cab fares as well as garage fees.

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