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Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency said Monday it will tighten pollution standards for cars and light trucks in an attempt to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles.

Why it matters: Transportation overall is the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, so tougher standards for passenger vehicles are a major part of efforts to curb CO2 output.

By the numbers: The new rules will require passenger vehicles to travel an average of 55 miles per gallon of gasoline by 2026.

  • The EPA said this new standard will prevent around 3 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which it said is equivalent to more than half the total U.S. CO2 emissions in 2019.
  • The rules will go into effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

Thought bubble, via Axios' Ben Geman: The standards through the middle of the decade have been a long and winding saga. Former President Obama initially set them, but they were then weakened by former President Trump.

  • Now Biden is restoring that effort with regulations that exceed the Obama-era plan and is signaling that he wants to go much further in subsequent years.

What they're saying: “The final rule for light duty vehicles reflect core principles of this Administration: We followed the science, we listened to stakeholders, and we are setting robust and rigorous standards that will aggressively reduce the pollution that is harming people and our planet — and save families money at the same time,” EPA chief Michael Regan said in a statement.

  • “We applaud the EPA for listening to the public and the climate science and acting swiftly to strengthen the federal clean car standards, our nation’s most powerful tool to slash emissions,” Sierra Club president Ramón Cruz said in a statement.

The big picture: President Biden signed an executive order earlier this month that requires the federal government to become carbon neutral by 2050.

  • As part of the order, the government will be required to stop buying gas-powered vehicles by 2035.

Go deeper: How the Biden climate agenda could be rescued after Manchin stunner

Go deeper

Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin gives the inaugural address after being sworn in on Jan. 15. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed 11 executive orders following his swearing-in ceremony on Saturday, including those that overturn Virginia's mask mandate for public schools and a COVID vaccination requirement for state workers.

Driving the news: Youngkin also signed an order that bans the teaching of critical race theory, a major focus of the 2021 campaign.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 14, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Biden's latest Fed pick signals brewing climate battles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden's plan to tap Sarah Bloom Raskin as top banking regulator at the Federal Reserve could intensify the central bank's already growing focus on climate change.

Catch up fast: The news broke Thursday night that Biden will nominate Raskin, a Duke University law professor, for the powerful role of vice chair for supervision.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

British national named in Colleyville synagogue standoff

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 16. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, the FBI said in a statement.

State of play: Authorities had initially declined to release the name of the 44-year-old suspect or identify the hostages, all adults, though police chief Michael Miller confirmed that one of those held was Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who leads the congregation.

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