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Data: Descartes Labs Economic Activities Signal; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Americans in most states are moving at nearly the same level as, and sometimes even more than, before the pandemic compelled lockdowns across the U.S.

Driving the news: Mobility data from Descartes Labs shows the vast swing in American movement over the last four months, with this chart showing March 7-July 4.

Why it matters: Tracking mobility habits sheds light on many aspects of our society, including economic indicators like gasoline demand and levels of local pollution.

By the numbers: Gas prices averaged $2.18 a gallon, the cheapest for Independence Day weekend in at least a decade, according to a research note published Tuesday by investment bank RBC Capital Markets.

The intrigue: We spotted some interesting trends:

  • People in largely rural, western states — including Montana, the Dakotas and Wyoming — are actually moving around more than they did right before lockdowns, data shows. (That's to be expected in the summer months, but given the coronavirus, it also shows the relative increase compared to other states.)
  • Mobility in southern states and some in the west didn’t drop nearly as much as their coastal counterparts, reflecting a political trend with more liberal states locking down more aggressively and earlier than more conservative ones.

How it works: Descartes Labs, a data sciences firm based in Sante Fe, New Mexico, uses what it calls “de-identified commercially available geolocation data” to develop its mobility index, which is what we’ve charted here.

  • The firm receives data from commercial data partners regarding mobile phone applications that maintain appropriate consents, approvals and/or opt-ins. It declined to specify which kinds of applications it receives.

Yes, but: As the virus increases its spread in numerous states and governors consider partially locking down for a second time, mobility could tick back down again.

What we’re watching: RBC Capital Markets said its real-time indicators “suggest a slowing degree of traffic activity this past weekend” due to the coronavirus spreading more aggressively in some states.

Go deeper

Trump blames "blue states" for high coronavirus cases in U.S.

President Trump said in a press conference Wednesday that the U.S. coronavirus death toll is "very low ... if you take the blue states out," while defending the nation's response to the pandemic compared to other countries around the world.

Why it matters: Of the top five states with the largest death tolls from the virus, three have Democratic governors, suggesting there is little relation between the spread of the virus and the political parties of state leaders.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.