AROUND 200 vehicles have been removed from Scotland's roads in the last two years due to the spread of Government-backed car clubs, a report has found.
The pay-as-you-drive model has become increasingly popular among households keen to cut motoring bills by getting rid of their main car or second vehicle, but is also used by businesses and commuters who share journeys to work.
A review of the Developing Car Clubs in Scotland programme, funded by Government agency Transport Scotland, found the number of car club members had grown by 600 since 2010 to 6300.
Around 160 car club vehicles are in use, with drivers paying between £3 and £5 per hour plus a mileage charge. Many use internet booking and automatic keys.
The programme has helped launch 11 new car clubs, eight of which are in rural areas and three in cities, as well as support existing clubs in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Aberdeen and Dundee launched clubs this year and Dumfries is due launch its own this year.
The Glasgow car club, which was launched in 2010, eight years after Edinburgh's, had become one of the fastest growing in the UK, with more than 700 members using 21 vehicles in the city's west end and parts of the city centre, the report found.
The combination of the programmes had helped cut 148 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year through reducing the number of journeys made, the report concluded.
The report was welcomed by Transport Minister Keith Brown, who said: "The Scottish Government has an ambitious agenda for tackling climate change and the increasing interest in car clubs is demonstrating how the people of Scotland are engaging in delivering on this. Greener lifestyles can also be cheaper lifestyles, given the ever-rising costs of running a private car.
"We are currently funding the establishment of a network of car clubs across Scotland, which will provide more drivers with the opportunity to give up their cars in favour of pay-as-you-go driving, further reducing the environmental and economic costs of car use."
Chas Ball, chief executive of the Carplus Trust, which has implemented the car club strategy, added: "In light of concerns surrounding climate change, this new review demonstrates car clubs are an affordable measure to help achieve wider energy efficiency and carbon reduction targets."