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Traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

As Uber and Lyft team with automakers to invest in AV technology and expand their ride-sharing options, these services may contribute to a decline in personal car ownership that will make such partnerships even more essential to automakers.

The big picture: An initial drop in private car purchases will likely be limited to dense cities, and it's still too early to know how it will be affected by other trends in urban planning and public transit.

Background: Vehicles lose 40% of their value to depreciation in year one, and car owners deal with ongoing associated costs — insurance, maintenance, financing, fuel, parking and more.

  • Even so, the people who do the most driving, chiefly in suburban and rural areas, are the least likely to give up their cars, given current trends and more individualized commuting routes.
  • Ride-sharing accounts for only 1% of vehicle miles traveled and has so far had a negligible impact on car ownership.

What's happening: The impact of AVs on private car ownership remains speculative, but their arrival could coincide with increased traffic congestion, decreased vehicle production and improvements in mass transit.

  • It's expected that high initial prices for AVs will make private ownership economically unsustainable, but that ride-sharing services and their ability to monetize their fleets could offset the upfront costs of large-scale deployment.
  • Both Uber and Lyft are also expanding their offerings to include bicycles and scooters. The popularity of bicycles has peaked during past surges in gas prices, suggesting a relationship between car costs and bike use.
  • Some automakers, including Ford, are reducing the number of models they manufacture, and Ford, GM, and Tesla have all taken recent steps to cull their workforces — possibly signaling they see a future with fewer car purchases according to Wards Auto.

What to watch: Public investments in mass transit may be a more reliable indicator than tech investments of whether people will move away from reliance on private vehicles.

  • Increased and improved mobility options won big in last week's midterm elections, when roughly 83% of public transportation ballot initiatives passed, in places from Maine to Florida.

Keith Lehmann is a technology consultant and the former managing director of the Connected Car Council. He is also a member of GLG, a platform connecting businesses with industry experts.

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House cancels Thursday session as FBI, Homeland Security warn of threat to Capitol

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security predict violent domestic extremists attacks will increase in 2021, according to a report obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: The joint report says extremists have discussed plans to take control of the Capitol and "remove Democratic lawmakers" on or about March 4. The House canceled its plans for Thursday votes as word of the possible threats spread.

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Data: Vatican News; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Pope Francis is forging ahead with the first papal trip to Iraq despite new coronavirus outbreaks and fears of instability.

The big picture: The March 5–8 visit is intended to reassure Christians in Iraq who were violently persecuted under the Islamic State. Francis also hopes to further ties with Shiite Muslims, AP notes.

"Neanderthal thinking": Biden slams states lifting mask mandates

States that are relaxing coronavirus restrictions are making "a big mistake," President Biden told reporters on Wednesday, adding: "The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking."

Driving the news: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Wednesday he will end all coronavirus restrictions via executive order, although some businesses are continuing to ask patrons to wear face masks. Mississippi is lifting its mask mandate for all counties Wednesday, per Gov. Tate Reeves (R).