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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.

Go deeper

Blockbuster Supreme Court day

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Supreme Court will give conservatives a lot of what they want — but not quite everything.

Driving the news: It voted 9-0 to carve out religious objections to same-sex marriage, saying foster-care agencies have a First Amendment right to turn away same-sex couples. But it also voted 7-2 to preserve the Affordable Care Act, saying Republican attorneys general did not have the legal standing to bring their lawsuit.

Biden signs bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

President Biden and Vice President Harris with members of Congress after the signing in the White House on June 17. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

"Great nations don't ignore their most painful moments," President Biden said before signing legislation Thursday that establishes Juneteenth as a federal holiday, just two days before the occasion.

Why it matters: The holiday, which will be known as Juneteenth National Independence Day, is now the 11th annual federal holiday and the first one established since the creation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
57 mins ago - Podcasts

House antitrust chair discusses the bills to bust up Big Tech

House lawmakers last week introduced a series of five bipartisan bills designed to curb the power of Big Tech, targeting Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google in all but name.

Axios Re:Cap speaks with Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), chair of the House antitrust committee and a sponsor on most of the bills, to learn how he plans to get these measures over the finish line. The congressman from Rhode Island also faces a slate of other priorities and in the wake of a spending package to bolster the U.S. tech sector’s ability to compete with China.