Adapted from IEA; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

SUVs reached a milestone last year, crossing 40% of worldwide new car sales for the first time, according to newly released International Energy Agency data.

Why it matters: The popularity of big, heavy cars and pickups is one challenge around decarbonizing transportation, even as fuel economy improves and electrics gain a beachhead.

  • Transportation is the largest greenhouse gas source in the U.S. and accounts for roughly a fourth of energy-related CO2 emissions worldwide.

The big picture: SUVs' share of new car sales has doubled over the last decade. There are now more than 200 million on the road and they account for 60% of the increase in the worldwide vehicle fleet since 2010, IEA said.

  • The increase in SUVs' market share accounts for 500,000 barrels per day worth of growth in oil demand for passenger vehicles between 2010 and 2019, per IEA.

The intrigue: Their popularity in the U.S. is well-known, but IEA notes that growth markets include China and other places where "SUVs are often considered symbols of wealth and status."

Where it stands: A number of legacy automakers and startups are bringing new electrified SUVs to market in the coming years. That includes GM's upcoming revival of the Hummer, and the startup Rivian's upcoming release of its SUV.

What we're watching: The fate of U.S. fuel economy standards. The Trump administration has substantially weakened Obama-era mandates that run through the mid-2020s.

  • But Wednesday attorneys general from two dozen states sued to thwart the weakened rules.
  • The election will matter too. The court fight will continue past November, and if Joe Biden wins he'll seek to implement much tougher standards.

Go deeper

Coronavirus could push more Americans to the suburbs

Data: Investing.com; Chart: Axios Visuals

The contrast of new and existing U.S. home sales over the past few months portends an interesting potential long-term change for the U.S. economy.

Driving the news: Existing home sales fell to their lowest level in nearly 10 years last month, with prices rising by the smallest annual amount in more than eight years.

Updated Jun 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Obama at Biden fundraiser: "I am here to say help is on the way"

Screenshot: Biden campaign virtual fundraiser

Former President Barack Obama said at a virtual fundraiser for Joe Biden Tuesday night that “help is on the way” and urged supporters not to be complacent in thinking their work is close to being finished: "Whatever you’ve done so far is not enough."

Why it matters: Organizers said it's the Biden campaign's largest fundraiser yet, bringing in $7.6 million from over 175,000 people. It's expected to be the first of several joint efforts with Biden in the months leading up to the election.

The persistent racial disparities in U.S. energy expenses

Data: Energy Institute at HAAS; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Black renters and homeowners face substantially higher residential energy costs than white residents, and these persistent differences are present almost throughout the income scale, a working paper from the Energy Institute at the Haas Business School shows.

Why it matters: The research "contributes to a broad set of evidence that black Americans bear a disproportionate burden of the current energy system" evident in both pollution exposure and cost, writes Eva Lyubich, a UC Berkeley doctoral candidate in economics.