Energy

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Expert Voices

Lower EPA fuel efficiency standards threaten U.S. energy dominance

traffic jam on highway outside Chicago
Chicago traffic. Photo: Patrick Gorski / NurPhoto via Getty Images

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has issued a draft plan to weaken greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for automobiles. If approved by President Trump, the policy will create a conflict with California and the 12 states that follow its rules. They will likely keep the current tighter standards on the books while other states opt to follow the new, weaker rules.

Why it matters: The fuel economy standards for automobiles were a key pillar in the U.S. pledge to reduce greenhouse gases to 26–28% of 2005 levels by 2025 under the Paris Agreement. They would provide carbon savings equivalent to 272 million tons of CO2.

Ben Geman Apr 20
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Trump bursts into OPEC fray

President Trump lambasted OPEC via Twitter Friday morning for making oil prices "artificially Very High" — a tweet which hit during an OPEC meeting today and was likely a reaction to oil prices trading at their highest level in three years.

Why it matters: Trump's tweet, while vague, appears to show the president directly attacking OPEC's work with Russia to limit production as the cartel seeks to tame the global crude oil glut. Trump's comments arrive as oil prices are trading at their highest levels in three years and U.S. gasoline prices, while still modest, have been creeping upwards too.line prices, while still modest, have been creeping upwards too.

Amy Harder Apr 20
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Trump’s solar tariffs are stoking global competition

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Competition in the global solar industry is ramping up in the wake of President Trump imposing tariffs on panel imports earlier this year.

Why it matters: Before the administration issued the tariffs, most of the American solar industry predicted it would hurt U.S. solar jobs, many of which are based on installing cheap solar panels from places like China. Two interviews with top executives at American and Chinese solar companies offer a glimpse into how these countries are positioning to thrive amid the tariffs.