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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

4 hours ago - Technology

Facebook changes corporate name to Meta

Screen shot of CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the company's "Connect" virtual event

CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday said the social media giant is renaming its company Meta.

Why it matters: The effort is meant to shift its image from a social media platform to a “metaverse” company that focuses on building virtual work and social communities.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Filings show Sweetgreen isn't profitable, despite claims

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Restaurant chain Sweetgreen on Monday filed to go public, and revealed that it lost money in each year since 2014.

Why it matters: The company lied when it repeatedly told reporters it was profitable.

U.S. border cities again see low violent crime rates

Expand chart
Data: FBI, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Reported violent crime in the United States rose in 2020 for the first time in four years, but violent crime rates in 11 of the largest communities along the U.S.-Mexico border stayed below the national average, an Axios analysis found. 

Why it matters: Year after year, data showing low violent crime rates in majority-Mexican American and Mexican immigrant border communities dispels myths of the U.S.-Mexico border as a region filled with crime and chaos.