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The Land Rover plug-in hybrid Range Rover Sport at the AutoMobility LA show in November 2017. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced last week his intention to scrap Obama-era plans to increase emissions standards. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the higher standards were projected to save over 2 million barrels of oil per day, and to cut $1 trillion in fuel costs and 5 billion metric tons of emissions by 2030.

Why it matters: Abandoning the standards increase means the U.S. will fall behind the rest of the world in transportation innovation just as China moves forward with tighter standards, leaving American companies excluded from the world's largest automobile market.

The other side: Automakers asked the Trump administration for leeway, claiming that technologies don't yet exist for them to meet the Obama-era targets. Hoping to boost America's automotive industry, Pruitt and Trump acquiesced.

But beyond their benefits to the environment, the standards were expected to jumpstart the innovation that would allow automakers to meet them. While California and 11 other states engage in a legal challenge to block the rollback, the industry will be put in limbo. The auto companies are unlikely to continue investing in, and purchasing from, firms developing new technologies — like hybrid and electric propulsion systems, lightweight materials and better batteries — that would help meet the former targets.

The bottom line: The EPA decision is bad for consumers, workers, the economy and the planet. It ignores the costs to international sales, to drivers with less fuel-efficient cars, and to the 288,000 American employees across 48 states who make innovative components for reducing vehicle pollution and improving gas mileage.

Jane Kearns is a senior adviser with MaRS Cleantech.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden watch a fireworks show on the National Mall from the Truman Balcony at the White House on Wednesday night. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden signed his first executive orders into law from the Oval Office on Wednesday evening after walking in a brief inaugural parade to the White House with First Lady Jill Biden and members of their family. He was inaugurated with Vice President Kamala Harris at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Many of Biden's day one actions immediately reverse key Trump administration policies, including rejoining the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization, launching a racial equity initiative and reversing the Muslim travel ban.

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

The Biden protection plan

Joe Biden announces his first run for the presidency in June 1987. Photo: Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

The Joe Biden who became the 46th president on Wednesday isn't the same blabbermouth who failed in 1988 and 2008.

Why it matters: Biden now heeds guidance about staying on task with speeches and no longer worries a gaffe or two will cost him an election. His staff also limits the places where he speaks freely and off the cuff. This Biden protective bubble will only tighten in the months ahead, aides tell Axios.