Maybe you have heard of car sharing and even zipcar. The general idea is that several people own or rent a car and use it from time to time. Zipcar is a huge international company that owns cars in lots of towns (even here in Isla Vista there are four!) and once you are registered as a member, you can book a car for about 10$/hour. You don't have to pay for gas and you don't have to reserve a car for an entire day (as car rental companies usually do it). Thus, you can easily go grocery shopping, pick up a friend, go to a party etc.

However, I had lots of trouble getting my zipcard (but I fought for it and I'll test it tomorrow). Their website service didn't work properly, so I couldn't submit my application. After I called zipcar five times, it turned out, it's a problem with the web page; during the first four calls, the people I spoke to didn't know what's wrong. Wow. If you submit your application via the website it takes about 30 (!) days to be processed. Well, that's when I'll have left the US.

So, I had to track them down at the head quarters in Los Angeles. Only a day trip, haha. Yet, I got my zipcard! You have to scan your passport and send in your driver's license to get your zipcard activated. That should take three days. Of course, nothing happened after three days and I had to call them again - and suddenly, my account was alright and I could reserve a car, yay!
The zipcard you get acts as a key to open the car; the actual keys for the motor are inside.

However, a friend told me a similar story about their service. He booked a car, but was sent to another one (0.5 miles away) because the first one was shut down due to maintenance. The car he was navigated to was also shut down. He ended up taking the bus to pick up a friend. It seems to be that the zipcar thing is great, if it's working ;-)