Sep 6, 2019

WSJ: Justice Dept. probes carmakers in California emissions deal

Attorney General Bill Barr. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Justice Department (DOJ) has opened an antitrust inquiry into 4 major automakers who recently struck a deal with California to boost emissions standards for their nationwide fleets, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The report, if correct, signals the opening of a new and high-stakes front in the fight between California and the White House over vehicle emissions and mileage rules.

Where it stands: The WSJ reports that DOJ is seeking to determine if Ford, VW, Honda and BMW "violated federal competition law by agreeing with each other to follow tailpipe-emissions standards beyond those proposed by the Trump administration."

The story cites anonymous sources familiar with the matter. DOJ declined to comment.

The big picture: The reported probe comes as the Trump administration is preparing to freeze Obama-era carbon emissions and mileage standards, rather than allowing them to grow significantly stronger through the mid-2020s.

One big question: Whether the prospect of facing an antitrust probe could deter other automakers from joining the pact with California.

Quick take: The development deepens the complexity of the regulatory battle for automakers. The industry chafed at Obama-era rules, calling them too strict, but does not support President Trump's effort to freeze the standards outright.

The industry hopes to avoid having to make cars for a split U.S. market in which California, the largest U.S. market, and roughly a dozen states that follow its lead have one set of rules that are different than the federal standards.

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Coronavirus accelerates AI in health care

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

From predicting outbreaks to devising treatments, doctors are turning to AI in an effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: While machine learning algorithms were already becoming a part of health care, COVID-19 is likely to accelerate their adoption. But lack of data and testing time could hinder their effectiveness — for this pandemic, at least.

Live updates: Crewed SpaceX launch postponed due to weather

The Falcon 9 rocket with a Crew Dragon atop. Photo: SpaceX

SpaceX's attempt to launch NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken has been postponed due to weather. They could attempt to launch again as soon as Saturday.

Why it matters: If all goes well, the launch — now expected to happen at 3:22 p.m. ET on Saturday — will mark the first time a private company has successfully launched people to orbit and the first crewed, orbital rocket launch from the U.S. in 9 years.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 5,647,961 — Total deaths: 353,011 — Total recoveries — 2,325,227Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 1,692,786 — Total deaths: 99,783 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine — Nearly half of Americans say someone in their household has delayed medical care.
  4. Business: African American business owners have seen less relief from PPP, Goldman Sachs saysDisney plans phased reopening on July 11Author Ann Patchett says bookstores are innovating to stay connected with customers.
  5. 1 🎶 thing: Local music venues get rocked by coronavirus.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 28 mins ago - Politics & Policy