Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The response to the Trump administration's final rules weakening vehicle mileage and emissions standards through the mid-2020s offers a hint of the shifting plates in the industry and the battles ahead.

Why it matters: The prior rules were a pillar of the Obama-era climate agenda, and transportation is the nation's largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

  • In a sign of the weight and intensity of the fight, former President Obama took what Axios' Ursula Perano points out is the rare step of publicly rebuking the administration.
  • And the White House last night released a statement hailing the rules for giving a "reality check to radical Green New Deal environmental activists" and "delivering the largest deregulatory action" of Trump's tenure.

Catch up fast: Reuters has an excellent piece on yesterday's joint EPA and Transportation Department announcement of rules that run through model year 2026. The upshot is that they require 1.5% annual efficiency gains, compared to 5% under the prior mandate.

  • The administration says the rule will "result in about 2 billion additional barrels of oil being consumed and 867 to 923 additional million metric tons of carbon dioxide being emitted and boost average consumer fuel costs by more than $1,000 per vehicle over the life of their vehicles."
  • But, but, but: "The administration said the revised rules will cut the future price of new vehicles by around $1,000 and reduce traffic deaths. Environmentalists dispute that the rule will reduce traffic deaths," Reuters reports.

The intrigue: The responses offer a window into the tensions within the auto industry.

  • Most of the industry thought the Obama-era rules had become infeasible, but from there, things get more confusing and scattered.
  • In a sign of those internal disputes, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which is the industry's main trade group, yesterday declined to offer a firm position.
  • The group instead said it's "carefully reviewing the full breadth" of the rule to gauge how much it supports their various market, consumer and environmental priorities.
  • Another sign of industry divisions: Volvo yesterday said it's joining the preliminary agreement California reached last year with Ford, VW, BMW and Honda to meet tougher standards for its nationwide fleet than the Trump plans require.

What's next: Litigation. California and states that follow its lead on emissions are certain to sue, and so will environmental groups.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  2. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases
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In pictures: Storm Zeta churns inland after lashing Louisiana

Debris on the streets as then-Hurricane Zeta passes over in Arabi, Louisiana, on Oct. 28. It's the third hurricane to hit Louisiana in about two months, after Laura and Delta. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Tropical Storm Zeta has killed at least two people, triggered flooding, downed powerlines and caused widespread outages since making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane on Wednesday.

The big picture: A record 11 named storms have made landfall in the U.S. this year. Zeta is the fifth named storm to do so in Louisiana in 2020, the most ever recorded. It weakened t0 a tropical storm early Thursday, as it continued to lash parts of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle with heavy rains and strong winds.

3 hours ago - World

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing" and the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus for the achievement, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China