Smog hangs over Los Angeles on June 11, 2019. Photo: Getty Images

A group of 23 states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit on Wednesday challenging the Trump administration’s rollback of Obama-era fuel efficiency standards.

The big picture: The administration's final rule on the Clean Car Standards was announced in late March, targeting future fuel economy standards and requiring automakers to make improvements of 1.5% annually through 2026, rather than the previously anticipated 5% increase in efficiency requirements.

Why it matters: The long-anticipated lawsuit is arguably one of the most high-profile battles between the Trump administration and Democratic states over environmental regulations, writes Axios' Amy Harder.

  • The administration has argued the new rule will lower car prices and save automakers billions of dollars in regulatory costs.
  • The states, however, argue the measure will increase costs to customers and say it violates laws that require the federal government to regulate environmental standards.
  • The states also argue that the administration "relied on an analysis riddled with errors, omissions, and unfounded assumptions in an attempt to justify their desired result."

What they're saying:

“From the outset, President Trump and his administration have shown absolutely no regard for protecting our environment and fighting climate change. This replacement rule will not only make our air dirtier, putting the health of our children, seniors, and communities at risk, but it will also increase the climate change costs for individual states.”
— Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring in a news release

Our thought bubble: These regulations were the most sweeping climate-change policies from President Obama and hugely impacted automakers. The automakers now find themselves stuck between the administration and states like California, which are leading with more aggressive standards.

What to watch via the New York Times: "The battle is widely expected to reach the Supreme Court."

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The long-term costs of owning an electric car in the U.S. are thousands of dollars lower than gasoline-powered models, a detailed new study by Energy Department researchers finds.

Why it matters: The peer-reviewed paper in Joule adds to the literature on costs by providing a granular, state-level look at power rates (including hourly variations), charging infrastructure types, regional gasoline price differences and other variables.

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15 states broke single-day coronavirus records this week

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At least 15 states broke their single-day novel coronavirus infection records this week, according to state health department data reviewed by Axios.

The big picture: The number of coronavirus cases increased in the vast majority of states over the last week, and decreased in only two states plus the District of Columbia, Axios' Andrew Withershoop and Caitlin Owens report.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 2,818,588 — Total deaths: 129,584 — Total recoveries: 883,561 — Total tested: 34,213,497Map.
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  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Trump extends PPP application deadlineKimberly Guilfoyle tests positive.
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  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.