If you’re a student in Iowa who makes up the occasional excuse not to get to class, here’s one excuse that won’t fly: “I didn’t have a ride”.

UhaulCarShare is teaming up with Graceland University for a new car share program. The company says it’s building on the success of partnerships with other colleges and universities. The program will let students and faculty share vehicles — so they can all get to class easily and on time.

The company says the initiative will take about 15-20 personally owned cars off the road, reduce parking congestion and improve air quality.

“The environmental benefits are nearly endless,” stated Cassandra Allen, UhaulCarShare, program manager, “but the lifestyle change is where the greatest potential lies, because of the lasting effect we can have on an individual’s routine behavior. By car sharing, individuals eliminate the need to own a car, without giving up the flexibility a car provides,” Allen continued. “People who car share will increase their public transit usage while still having the convenience of a car when needed. And that’s good for the whole community.”

To start things off, UhaulCarShare will place one vehicle, a Mazda 3, on campus for the 2012 fall semester.  The Mazda 3 will be parked on campus and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to all students, faculty and staff members.

Until October 31st, new members can sign up and get a $25 driving credit added to their accounts. There will also be a flexible-rate system that will allow drivers to pay for only the mileage that they use. The rate to rent the Mazda 3 starts at $4.94/hour. You’ll have to add an extra $0.59 per mile.

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For members who drive longer distances, UhaulCarShare has a rate that includes 180 free miles, starting at $8.50 per hour, depending on the vehicle.  Expensive driver costs like gas, insurance, and 24/7 roadside assistance are all included in the hourly and daily rates.

Cars can be reserved up to a maximum of 6 days.

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