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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Federal fuel efficiency standards issued under President Obama are frozen under a proposal the Transportation Department and Environmental Protection Agency issued today.

Why it matters: These rules, which under Obama would have reached an average of 50 miles per gallon by 2025, were a big part of the former president's climate legacy, cutting carbon emissions and fuel use. The Trump administration is now asserting that the scaled back proposal will save both lives and money.

The details: The proposal includes a range of options, but the administration’s preferred one is the most aggressive: Freezing the standards at 35 miles per gallon in 2020 for six years, instead of rising to 50 mpg. It would also revoke a federal waiver California has to issue tougher standards, which a dozen states also follow. The rollback goes further than what most automakers have said they want.

"More realistic standards can save lives while continuing to improve the environment. We value the public’s input as we engage in this process in an open, transparent manner."
— Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler

The big picture: Early in Trump’s administration, business urged him to slow down on deregulating, stressing that narrow regulation is better than none in a changing political climate. Today’s announcement is one of the starkest signs that Trump is throwing that advice out the window — and inviting lawsuits and regulatory uncertainty.

What's next: The proposal goes through a public notice-and-comment period. The final version could be more moderate than the proposal.

Go deeper: Trump's stealth attack on Obama's legacy.

Go deeper

Amy Harder, author of Generate
Aug 20, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Joe Biden unlikely to push carbon tax as part of climate change plan

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Joe Biden is unlikely to pursue a carbon tax if he wins in November, according to several people familiar with his campaign's thinking.

Driving the news: The campaign said last year it supported a price on carbon emissions, but it has since released policies that embody government mandates, investments and job creation amid the pandemic-induced recession.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
56 mins ago - Health

Public health messaging lessons for the next pandemic

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

"Be first, be right, be credible" is the mantra of public health experts in a crisis. It's difficult to argue that the health community has regularly managed to be any of those three during COVID-19.

Why it matters: A pandemic isn't just a medical emergency — it's also a communications emergency. The U.S. public health establishment, hamstrung by bad data and political interference, has struggled with the latter.

How Hertz is fighting to stay relevant

A Hertz car rental counter in the Miami International Airport. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In the span of less than a week, Hertz has made three big strategic moves intended to keep the car rental giant from fading into oblivion.

Why it matters: Ride-hailing and other mobility innovations are rapidly changing the way people get from A to B, posing an existential threat to traditional car rental services.