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Data: EPA; Chart: Axios Visuals

New EPA data on U.S. vehicle fuel economy paints a mixed picture, showing record average efficiency in model year 2020 that's nonetheless far short of what policymakers hope to see ahead.

Driving the news: The annual report shows that average overall fuel economy for cars, SUVs and light trucks sold in the U.S. reached 25.4 miles per gallon (mpg) in model year 2020 in real-world conditions, a 0.5 mpg increase over 2019.

  • Preliminary data shows that it's basically stagnant this year.

The big picture: It's nowhere near the 52 mpg by 2026 in standards the Biden administration has floated, which Bloomberg notes "equates to roughly 41 mpg in real-world driving conditions that typically account for about a 20% drop in fuel economy from EPA’s ratings."

Why it matters: Transportation overall — including heavy trucks and other vehicles — is the largest source of U.S. carbon emissions.

Zoom in: For model year 2020, Tesla’s all-electric fleet had by far the lowest tailpipe CO2 emissions, EPA notes. The next best performers on average CO2 emissions and mileage were Honda, Subaru and Hyundai.

  • Conversely, "Stellantis had the highest new vehicle average CO2 emissions and lowest fuel economy of the large manufacturers in model year 2020, followed by Ford and GM," EPA notes.

Go deeper: The slowing global gains in fuel economy

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Nov 22, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Fuel efficiency progress "is stalling" because of growth of SUVs

Expand chart
Data: Global Fuel Economy Initiative/IEA; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

A new(ish) analysis shows that "fuel economy progress is stalling" amid the growing global popularity of SUVs and light trucks.

Driving the news: The joint report from the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) and the International Energy Agency takes stock of where things stand through 2019, the last year with comparative data.

Updated 12 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 14 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.