Feb 25, 2021

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 415 words, a 1.5-minute read.

⚡️ The House passed the Equality Act, which would expand federal protections for LGBTQ people by prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Go deeper.

1 big thing: Used car prices soar

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Don't be surprised if used cars are harder to find and more expensive for years to come, auto industry experts are warning.

  • The average price of a used vehicle surged nearly 14% between January and December of 2020 — roughly 10 times the rate of inflation — to over $23,000, AP reports.

The big picture: COVID-19 created a massive ripple effect, as Axios transportation correspondent Joann Muller reported last year.

  • Major auto manufacturers stopped production. That led to a shortage of vehicles on dealer lots, especially trucks and SUVs.
  • Fewer people traded in vehicles or returned leases during the pandemic's early lockdowns.
  • Rental companies bought fewer cars because of travel shutdowns, reducing the number they will sell used, AP notes.

Between the lines: The $30K sedan is a thing of the past, Joann tells me.

  • Many manufacturers even stopped producing sedans in the U.S. or abandoned their lower-priced models in favor of trucks and SUVs.

The bottom line: Low interest rates plus stimulus checks plus supply crunches all point in the same direction.

2. Pic du jour
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Vice President Harris watches as Dr. Linval Matthews administers a COVID-19 vaccine today at the pharmacy of a Giant Food in Southeast D.C.

3. Catch up quick
  1. Pfizer is evaluating whether a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine can protect against new variants of the virus. Go deeper.
  2. "Super follows": Twitter plans to double user revenue by allowing people to pay creators directly for content they like. Go deeper.
  3. Costco will raise its minimum wage to $16 per hour. Go deeper.
  4. 🎧 Axios Re:Cap speaks with John Delaney about the future of e-commerce, low-skilled labor and SPACs. Listen here.
4. D.C.-area business giants elect new leader

The Greater Washington Partnership, a powerful regional alliance of CEOs, today elected a new chair — Peter Scher, a JPMorgan Chase chair of the mid-Atlantic region and former vice chair of the partnership.

  • Northrop Grumman chair, CEO and President Kathy Warden was named a vice chair. Ted Leonsis, chair and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment (owner of Washington Wizards and Capitals), remains a vice chair.

Why it matters: The group aims to knit together the Capital Region, a notoriously splintered economic powerhouse running from Baltimore to Richmond, to promote innovation and equity.

  • The partnership added three new board members: Patty Obermaier, Microsoft VP of U.S. health and life sciences; Georgetown President John DeGioia; and Dominion Energy President and CEO Bob Blue.
5. 1 smile to go: TikTok's food fad
Photo: Axios data visualization editor Danielle Alberti

The pasta seen 'round the world:

  • Finnish food blogger Jenni Häyrinen's baked-feta and tomato pasta recipe has more than 600 million views on TikTok, The Wall Street Journal reports.

It's not this easy in practice, but the recipe as follows:

"Pour half a cup of olive oil in a casserole dish, then dump in two pints of cherry tomatoes and an 8-ounce block of feta cheese. Bake for 40 minutes; broil for five. Stir in cooked pasta along with some fresh basil and minced garlic."
Photo: Axios breaking news reporter Ursula Perano