Interesting news from the world of car clubs today, as Streetcar is acquired by Zipcar. The deal brings together the largest car club in the US and the fastest-growing car club in Europe. They say that it will bring about a global fleet and a shared vision “to make transport smarter.” Amen to that. Streetcar members will get access to a wider variety of cars, and when the transition is complete, the ability to access cars across Zipcar's network in the US and Canada. With more than 400,000 members, there will be more vehicles, a greater variety of hybrid and other green cars, and more locations. Streetcar will disappear, as the companies will ultimately operate under the Zipcar brand. Streetcar was launched in April 2004, and currently has a presence in more than 1,100 locations across eight cities, including London, Brighton, Cambridge, Southampton, Guildford, Maidstone, Oxford and Bristol. Zipcar has 360,000 members in urban areas and college campuses throughout 28 North American states and provinces and Europe, and offers more than 30 makes and models of self-service vehicles. Wearing my economist’s hat, the thought occurs that buying up the competition can be a classic way for companies to grow their market without the hard slog of organic growth. And for this type of business, size really does matter: the economies of scale from a bigger operation should be good news for the cost base – and, hopefully, prices. Wearing my carfree customer’s hat, the prospect of getting access to more vehicles in more locations, with the promise of more rapid growth in the future, looks pretty attractive.