🥞 Welcome back! Today's newsletter has a Smart Brevity count of 1,032 words, 4 minutes.

🎤 Listen to Andrew on "Axios Today" discuss the devastating tornado outbreaks and climate change.

🎶 This week in 1972, Texas blues-rock greats ZZ Top released the album "Rio Grande Mud," which provides today's intro tune ...

1 big thing: The early fallout of Biden's EV move

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Let's take the pulse of where things stand 72 hours after Biden White House officials unveiled their interpretation of complex electric vehicle subsidies in the climate law.

Why it matters: The rules determine which models qualify for up to $7,500 consumer tax credits. That's enough to sway buying decisions and the pace of EV adoption, Ben writes.

🏃🏽‍♀️ Catch up fast: The law set escalating requirements for battery components sourced from North America, and minerals sourced (or processed) in the U.S., or from free-trade partners.

👀 What we're watching ...

The new trade landscape. Look for deals with Europe that fit companies there under the mineral rules following last week's pact with Japan.

  • "[A] mosaic of such agreements could form the basis of a Western 'critical minerals club,'" research firm ClearView Energy Partners said in a note.

The new business landscape. The rules should steer business to companies that help automakers track complex mineral supply chains.

  • "[W]e stand ready to help industry implement [the guidance] as they bring more volumes of electric vehicles to their customers," Douglas Johnson-Poensgen, CEO of Circulor, in a statement to reporters.

The political fallout. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is furious, and some other key Democrats are uneasy with new trade deals that freeze out Congress.

  • ClearView doesn't see Democratic support for nixing EV portions of the climate law, but add that frustration with the White House "putting decarbonization ahead of deglobalization could spur support for a GOP-led Congressional Review Act bid to overturn President Joe Biden’s two-year suspension of new duties on solar products tariffs."

Flexibility under the rules. Here's another example of our point Friday that Treasury is favoring EV deployment over a strict reading of industrial policy provisions in the law.

  • TD Cowen points out powders of cathode and active anode materials stayed in the "critical minerals" bucket, instead of being defined as battery components.
  • "This reduces the burden on U.S.-based battery manufacturing and places the requirement in the more generous (geographically speaking) critical mineral space," TD's John Miller said in a note.

🗓️ What's next: In mid-April Treasury will publish a list of vehicles that qualify for some or all of the credits.

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, an industry group, predicts that "few" of the EVs currently for sale in the U.S. are eligible.

Bonus: Charting electric availability

Fully electric vehicle models available in the U.S.
Data: S&P Global; Chart: Axios Visuals

Consumers' EV choices are slated to grow sharply, no matter how many models qualify for tax credits, Ben writes.

The big picture: This chart of light-duty vehicles — sedans, pickups, SUVs and vans — comes via S&P Global Mobility's late 2022 estimate.

Analysts update their projections as the market evolves, so watch this space.

2. OPEC+ surprise shakes up oil markets

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Wait, what? After previously signaling a stay-the-course posture, OPEC+ is slashing oil output by roughly 1.2 million barrels per day starting in May through year's end, Ben writes.

Why it matters: The surprise announcement Sunday sent crude prices surging. Even after cooling off a little, prices are up over 6%, with the global benchmark Brent crude trading at $85 per barrel.

Driving the news: Saudi Arabia plans to shoulder 500,000 barrels per day of the reduction, calling the joint cuts a "precautionary measure" aimed at supporting oil market stability.

What they're saying: "Saudi Arabia’s oil minister cemented his reputation as the Prince of Plot Twists," RBC Capital Markets analysts said in a note.

Zoom in: Rystad Energy's Jorge Leon sees upside pressure of around $10 per barrel.

  • "From a supply side perspective, the cuts signal the group is willing to defend a price floor well above $80 per barrel and prioritize revenue versus market share," he said in a note.
  • OPEC+ is worried about "recessionary indicators" worsened by the banking sector strains, Leon writes.

The intrigue: The White House is irked — and these reductions come on top of cuts unveiled in October that team Biden opposed.

"We don’t think cuts are advisable at this moment given market uncertainty — and we’ve made that clear," a National Security Council spokesperson said, per Reuters.

3. Third tornado outbreak in 3 weeks; "Big Melt" to begin

A family evacuates their Walnut Ridge neighborhood on March 31 in Little Rock. Photo: Benjamin Krain/Getty Images

Another severe weather outbreak is likely Tuesday, covering much of the same territory devastated late last week: from Iowa to Arkansas, Andrew writes.

Driving the news: This week's storms would mark the third outbreak in as many weeks across the South and Midwest.

Zoom in: The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has designated parts of Iowa, Illinois and Missouri as having a “moderate risk” for severe weather Tuesday, which is a level 4 threat designation out of 5.

Context: Climate change is altering the environment in which tornadoes and tornado outbreaks occur, and further studies are needed, Axios’ Rebecca Falconer and I write.

Meanwhile ... This afternoon will bring official word from the California Department of Water Resources’ snow survey on whether the state's extraordinary snowpack has set an all-time record.

  • The survey is timed for the point in the season when the snowpack tends to be deepest, with the greatest amount of water held within it.
  • Snow melt will keep reservoirs much more full during the dry season compared to recent drought years, but it's also a growing flooding concern.
  • Weather outlooks show much milder air returning to the Golden State, kick-starting the state's “Big Melt.”

What we're watching: The reemergence of Tulare Lake in the San Joaquin Valley, and flooding of farms and communities.

4. Catch up fast: Tesla, EPA, Munich Re

🚗 "Tesla sales rose 5 percent in the first three months of the year after it cut prices on its electric cars, helping to compensate for slowing economic growth and rising interest rates." (NYT)

🚛 EPA is "approving California's plans to require a rising number of zero-emission, heavy-duty trucks as the state pushes to cut pollution." (Reuters)

👋 Insurance giant Munich Re is "leaving an alliance of leading insurers that have committed to reduce emissions due to what it says are 'material' legal risks." (Bloomberg)

5. 💬 Quoted

"The first wave of Chinese investments has taken place and that has led to a rude awakening for western companies."
— Andrada Mining CEO Anthony Viljoen

He's quoted in a Financial Times feature about the commercial and geopolitical race to secure lithium and other key energy transition minerals in Africa.

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🙏 Thanks to Lisa Hornung and Javier E. David for edits to today's edition.