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President Donald Trump. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images. Tesla car charger. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Companies looking to profit off electric cars are suing President Trump for proposing to roll back fuel-efficiency regulations.

Driving the news: A strange bedfellows group formed last year by utilities and Tesla filed suit in the D.C. Circuit earlier this month against the Environmental Protection Agency's move to roll back fuel-efficiency standards. The lawsuit adds to a separate suit filed by California with more than a dozen other states and another filed by several environmental groups.

The bottom line: Rising fuel-efficiency standards would increase demand for electric cars, which would spur electricity demand, a top priority for utilities that are facing largely stagnant electricity demand from buildings. Critics call this rent-seeking. Industry calls it smart business in Washington.

Gritty details: The coalition, called the National Coalition for Advanced Transportation, is made up of 16 entities, mostly utilities (seven of them either Exelon or Exelon subsidiaries) and other companies with a financial stake in growing demand for electric cars, including Tesla.

  • A spokesman for the group says they have reached out to more than two dozen other companies, including American Electric Power, Southern Company and Duke Energy, about joining.

What they're saying: Bob Wyman, a lawyer at Latham & Watkins in Los Angeles who speaks on behalf of the group, said the companies support more flexible standards in response to automaker concerns.

  • Yes, but: A freeze in the current standards, as the administration is considering, would sap investments in new technologies and put the U.S. behind in leadership on this issue, Wyman said.

The big picture: The very existence of this coalition reflects the scrambled industry alliances forming in response to President Trump’s unconventional administration — and his unprecedented rollback of regulations. I covered this dynamic in my latest Harder Line column published earlier this week.

Go deeper

The separate and unequal paths in business

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

When a bank turned down George Johnson for a business loan, he got creative. He returned and told the bank he needed $250 to take his wife on a vacation — and was approved. Then he invested the cash in his business, which became the first Black enterprise to trade on the American Stock Exchange.

Why it matters: The highways to success in the U.S. market economy — in entrepreneurship, corporate leadership and wealth creation — are often punctuated with roadblocks and winding detours for people of color.

GOP state legislatures move to assert control over election systems

Contractors in Phoenix in May 2021 recounting ballots as part of a 2020 general election audit requested by the Arizona State Senate. Photo: Courtney Pedroza for the Washington Post

Republican-held state legislatures have passed bills that give lawmakers more power over the vote by stripping secretaries of state of their power, asserting control over election boards and creating easier methods to overturn election results, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: The bills, triggered by baseless claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, threaten to politicize traditionally non-partisan election functions by giving Republicans more control over election systems.