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Data: EPA; Chart: Axios Visuals

The average fuel efficiency of cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. dipped in model year 2019, newly released federal data shows.

Why it matters: Transportation is the nation's largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. The overall trends (see above) show that the sector is far from steep emissions cuts.

How it works: Per Reuters, "The shift to larger vehicles was the biggest factor hurting fuel economy. In 2019, 44% of the fleet were cars and 56% were light-duty trucks, a category that includes SUVs, the highest percentage of trucks on record."

What they're saying: EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the data justifies his agency's decision to weaken Obama-era rules on mileage and CO2 emissions to allow smaller increases through the mid-2020s.

  • "This report shows in detail how few auto manufactures were able to meet the unrealistic emissions standards set by the Obama administration without resorting to purchasing emission credits," he said.

The other side: Dan Becker, an advocate for much tougher emissions standards, said the data show why the incoming administration must reverse Trump policy.

  • "Without tough rules from the Biden administration, automakers will keep pushing gas-guzzling Trumpmobiles on consumers rather than deliver clean cars that cut pollution," said Becker, who's with the Center for Biological Diversity.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 29, 2021 - Economy & Business

General Motors puts Trump in its rearview mirror

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

General Motors (GM) is racing to prepare itself for a president and a world that takes climate change more seriously — and putting the Trump era behind them in the process.

Driving the news: GM yesterday announced an ambitious plan to end global sales of internal combustion vehicles by 2035. It's part of their wider new pledge to be carbon neutral by 2040.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

10 hours ago - Economy & Business

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.