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Rebecca Zisser / Axios; Photo: Noah Berger / AP

The on-demand economy of ride-hailing and delivery services were initially built on the idea that drivers are looking to put their idle cars to use to make a few extra bucks. As it turns out, a growing number of these on-demand drivers want the gigs but don't own a car (or one that fits the services' requirements). To fill that void, a small cottage industry has sprung up over the past few years to make cars available for these car-less drivers.

Why it matters: The rise of these car services bring up questions about the future of car ownership. Between 2010 and 2015, car-less living began to slowly grow after decades of the opposite trend. Companies—especially automakers and car rental providers—are increasingly experimenting with car-sharing and other models. The constant need for new drivers, coupled with the car-ownership shift means that ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are looking for new ways to equip their drivers with vehicles to, well, drive.

For example, Uber recently came under fire when the Wall Street Journal discovered that the company was knowingly leasing defective cars to Singapore drivers—and worse, one of them caught on fire earlier this year. Uber's risky practices like this stem from its desperate need to get drivers (who don't necessarily own cars) on the road.

The players range from independent startups, to the ride-hailing companies themselves, to car rental companies and automakers.

How these services have evolved:

What's next: Expect to see more of these services as some people decide to ditch their cars and rent one for personal and work purposes, or loan their cars out for some quick cash. And once self-driving cars hit the roads, people won't be renting cars to ferry passengers and parcels around — self-driving cars will do the job instead.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a powerful and potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring an array of hazards, from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten coastal property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Republican-led Pennsylvania court deems mail-in voting law unconstitutional

Workers count ballots for the 2020 Presidential election at the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Nov. 3, 2020. Photo: Hannah Yoon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Republican-led Pennsylvania court on Friday ruled that the state's mail-in voting law is unconstitutional.

Driving the news: Three Republican judges sided with Republican challengers and ruled that no-excuse mail-in voting is prohibited under the state's constitution. Two Democrats on the panel dissented.

2 hours ago - World

China's ambassador warns Taiwan could spark "military conflict" with U.S.

Photo: Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty Images

China's ambassador to the U.S. warned in a rare interview with NPR that if Taiwanese authorities "keep going down the road for independence," it would "most likely" lead to a "military conflict" between the U.S. and China.

Why it matters: Chinese officials rarely speak in such blunt terms, but veteran diplomat Qin Gang was unequivocal: "The Taiwan issue is the biggest tinderbox between China and the United States."