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Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images

The Trump administration will likely endorse modest increases in vehicle mileage and emissions standards when it completes rules to weaken Obama-era mandates, multiple sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: The move, depending on the details, will likely force automakers into tough decisions about whether to endorse it.

  • The industry's position is that there should be annual increases, rather than no gains through the mid-2020s.
  • EPA and the Transportation Department had initially proposed freezing the Obama administration's planned increases in 2020.

What they're saying: "[B]ased on other conversations with the administration and others ... it seems likely that the final rule will require some year-over-year efficiency improvements," said a source familiar with the administration's thinking.

Where it stands: Big players are already going their own way. 4 automakers — Ford, VW, Honda and BMW — struck a deal with California in July that they say amounts to 3.7% annual efficiency gains in model years 2022–2026.

  • It's very unlikely that the Trump administration will go nearly that far, given that the deal with California is in the ballpark of the Obama-era standards (although somewhat weaker).

Flashback: EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has hinted at the prospect of backing off the freeze. On Sept. 19 he said the final rule "will not look exactly the same way that we proposed it.”

  • An EPA spokesperson declined comment.

Go deeper: EPA to roll back California's power to enforce strict auto emissions standards

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

Standardized testing becomes another pandemic victim

Photo: Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty

National standardized reading and math tests have been pushed from next year to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: There’s mounting national evidence that students are suffering major setbacks this year, with a surge in the number of failing grades.

1 hour ago - World

European countries extend lockdowns

A medical worker takes a COVID-19 throat swab sample at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo by Maja Hitij via Getty

Recent spikes in COVID-19 infections across Europe have led authorities to extend restrictions ahead of the holiday season.

Why it matters: "Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

2 hours ago - Health

Africa CDC: Vaccines likely won't be available until Q2 of 2021

Africa CDC director Dr. John Nkengasong. Photo: Mohammed Abdu Abdulbaqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Africa may have to wait until the second quarter of 2021 to roll out vaccines, Africa CDC director John Nkengasong said Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: “I have seen how Africa is neglected when drugs are available,” Nkengasong said.