Apr 2, 2018

EPA moves to weaken Obama-era mileage regulations

Photo: Scott Olson / Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday a long-expected decision to begin scaling back mileage and carbon emissions rules for cars and light trucks.

Why it matters: The regulations were a pillar of President Obama's climate change agenda. The move may also set up a major battle with California, which currently has authority to maintain tougher mileage rules, and roughly a dozen states that follow California's lead.

Details: The Obama-era rules for model years 2022-2025 would have required a fleet-wide average of over 50 miles per gallon (though it comes out to roughly 36 mpg under real-world conditions).

What they're doing: EPA, in announcing the move, said Administrator Scott Pruitt had determined that "in light of recent data, the current standards are not appropriate and should be revised."

  • The Obama administration "made assumptions about the standards that didn’t comport with reality, and set the standards too high," Pruitt said in a statement.
  • What's next: The EPA and the Transportation Department, which jointly set federal rules, will begin a rule-making process to set "more appropriate" standards, the EPA said. California's waiver to set tougher standards under the Clean Air Act is also being "reexamined."

What they're saying: The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade and lobbying group that represents GM, Ford and several other car companies, applauded the move.

  • "We appreciate that the Administration is working to find a way to both increase fuel economy standards and keep new vehicles affordable to more Americans," said spokeswoman. Gloria Bergquist.
  • But environmentalists attacked the decision: “We should be racing toward a cleaner, healthier transportation future. Instead, the Trump administration is steering us onto a dead end road," said Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp.

Go deeper: Bloomberg breaks down the announcement here.

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MLB's Rob Manfred is latest villain in Astros' cheating scandal

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred's decision to grant Astros players immunity in exchange for confessions about their sign-stealing scheme has undermined his reputation — and he only made himself look worse on Sunday.

The interview: In a 45-minute conversation with ESPN, Manfred asserted that public shame was punishment enough for the Astros. He also called the World Series trophy "just a piece of metal" and said that taking a title away from Houston "seems like a futile act."

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Economists warn coronavirus risk far worse than realized

Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Worries are growing that the economic impact from the novel coronavirus outbreak will be worse than expected and that markets are being too complacent in factoring it in as a risk.

What's happening: The number of confirmed cases has already far outpaced expectations and even those reports are being viewed through a lens of suspicion that the Chinese government is underreporting the figures.

National newspapers thrive while local outlets struggle to survive

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

While big national newspapers grow stronger, local newspaper chains that have for decades kept the vast majority of the country informed are combusting.

Why it matters: The inequity between giants like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and their local counterparts represents a growing problem in America as local communities no longer have the power to set the agenda for the news that most affects them.