Car makers ask US officials to loosen fuel economy requirements

The brands contend that the previous administration made mistakes forecasting the cost of hitting that fuel economy target. There’s a “misalignment” between the ever-tougher requirements and a car market that’s skewing toward less fuel-efficient vehicles, the Alliance claims in its comments to the EPA. Companies contend that previous officials overestimated the ability to hit goals using “conventional technologies.” In other words, they believe that they’d have to use exotic designs to achieve their objectives.

The Alliance also calls for increased flexibility in the rules’ credit system, which lets manufacturers offset low-efficiency cars by producing hyper-efficient cars (including EVs and hybrids). Just what that flexibility entails isn’t clear, but it’s implied that companies would like either more opportunities to earn credits or for their achievements to count more.

Whether or not they’ll get any changes in the rules is another story. The current EPA leadership is close to the fossil fuel industry and has a deregulatory bent, but that won’t matter much if California continues to resist attempts to soften regulations. Like it or not, automakers have to honor the state’s rules if they expect to succeed — if they don’t, they give up sales in California and the 12 other states that follow its lead. As it is, the gripes may not amount to much. Auto giants like GM have already promised an abundance of electric cars over the next several years. They may not need to worry about reaching the 2025 goals if large portions of their lineups are fuel-free before that time.

Facebook aims to balance its fact-checking with a right-wing magazine

The Standard isn’t a shoe-in. Experts at Poynter still have to verify that the publication meets guidelines for not just fact-checking, but its transparency about sources and willingness to accept corrections if it ever makes a mistake. This could take several weeks. We’ve asked Facebook for comment on what’s happening and will let you know if it has something to add.

It’s easy to see some complaining that Facebook is including a different point of view for its own sake, aiming for perceived neutrality above all else. After all, existing partners tend to be sites dedicated to fact-checking (like PolitiFact or Snopes) while the Standard is a magazine that uses fact-checking to serve an agenda it wears on its sleeve.

With that said, the Standard may be one of Facebook’s better choices. It hired a new fact-checker in September, and Quartz‘s industry contacts understand the recruit was brought on with the Facebook partnership in mind. The magazine also tends to defy the party line when it doesn’t believe the facts line up, such as when it refuses to deny climate science (although it downplays doom-and-gloom predictions). In other words, this doesn’t appear to be an arbitrary pick — Facebook wants to be sure its media outlet choices can survive scrutiny, wherever they fall on the political spectrum.