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Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

With rental cars in short supply, enterprising car owners have amassed their own small fleets of automobiles, renting them out to travelers at a premium.

A snapshot: If you need a car in Boston for a weekend in mid-October, you can rent a Ford Fiesta hatchback from Budget for about $500 — or pay the same for a Maserati Quattroporte from Turo.com, a car-sharing site.

Why it matters: Turo and other peer-to-peer car-sharing services like Getaround and Avail have made it easy for the average Joe or Jane with a few underutilized vehicles at home to compete with major rental car firms.

  • The disintermediators are even offering bonuses of up to $2,000 per vehicle for car owners to add to their fleets.

The big picture: The pandemic wreaked havoc on the car rental business.

  • Rental car companies sold off hundreds of thousands of vehicles when people stopped traveling, but now can't replenish their fleets fast enough, due to supply constraints in the auto industry.
  • That's when private car owners stepped in, through sites like Turo and Getaround.

The intrigue: Turo used to market itself as a side gig for people to make extra income, or as a way for car buyers to stretch their budget to afford a fancier model.

  • The pitch: Rent your car out for a few days a month, and you can easily cover that higher car payment.

But now, Turo is helping enterprising small-business owners manage multi-vehicle fleets.

  • Lazaro Vento is an example: He lists 22 vehicles for rent in Miami, including a Ferrari, a Tesla and multiple BMWs, Audis and Jeeps.
  • In a particularly good month recently, he pocketed a $30,000 profit.
  • Seven years ago, he was broke, living on a friend's couch. Today, he manages close to 100 Airbnb properties, along with his fleet of Turo cars, sometimes packaging them together.
  • "When you get to a place, the car is waiting for you — it really makes you feel like a VIP," he tells Axios.

Flashback: Turo CEO Andre Haddad saw the same dynamics play out during previous stints at iBazar and eBay.

  • "One of the universal truths of online marketplaces is that they typically start with consumers and then find a way to migrate to small businesses," he tells Axios.
  • Airbnb, for example, started off by letting people rent their couch or spare bedroom to travelers. Now many of its properties are professionally managed.

What to watch: Last month, Turo filed confidentially with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an IPO listing.

The bottom line: Car-sharing in North America is projected to exceed $4.8 billion by the end of 2024, per Graphical Research — good news for entrepreneurs looking to pocket a little extra money.

Editor's note: This post has been updated with the correct spelling of iBazar.

Go deeper

Housing investment and affordability collide in Austin

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Some people who live in predominantly Latino and Black areas of East Austin spend upwards of 60% of their income on rent, per a new housing report.

Why it matters: The statistic is another window into the Austin housing crisis, as soaring rents and home values push residents, especially those working marginal-income service industry jobs, to the city's periphery.

  • Financial advisers generally recommend spending no more than a third of income on housing, but soaring property values have led to a domino effect of higher property taxes and higher rent.
  • "When you see a metric like that, at first glance it doesn't make sense," Shri Ganeshram, CEO of Awning.com, which put together the report, tells Axios.
    • Super high rent in relation to income is a telltale sign of deep change, as older houses get flipped or torn down for much bigger ones.
    • "When I drive around East Austin, I see older construction right next to brand new houses, sometimes three times as big," Ganeshram said.

Airlines call for Biden admin's "immediate intervention" in 5G deployment

Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The CEOs of leading U.S. air cargo and passenger carriers on Monday warned the Biden administration there could be "catastrophic disruption" after AT&T and Verizon deploy a new 5G service this week.

Driving the news: They said in a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and other top federal officials ahead of the C-Band 5G service's deployment Wednesday that "the nation's commerce will grind to a halt" and "could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas."

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.