In announcing the decision, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt included a tacit threat that the federal government might no longer go along with California's smog-fighting policies. That could lead to pollution rules that vary state-by-state, greatly complicating life for the people making the cars.

"Automakers will get the flexibility they wished for, but at what cost?" said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis at the car shopping website Edmunds. "The unfortunate reality is that this decision comes with a logistical nightmare in the short term."

In other news, EPA boss Scott Pruitt is getting kickbacks from lobbyists.

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