Trump’s fuel plan run­ning on fumes

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - MONEY - By Tony Bar­boza

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pro­posal to roll back fuel econ­omy stan­dards re­lies on an er­ror-rid­den and mis­lead­ing anal­y­sis that over­es­ti­mates the costs and un­der­states the ben­e­fits of tighter reg­u­la­tion, an in­de­pen­dent study by lead­ing economists, en­gi­neers and other ex­perts has found.

Find­ings pub­lished in the jour­nal Sci­ence de­scribe the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s cost-ben­e­fit anal­y­sis as marred by mis­takes and mis­cal­cu­la­tions, based on cherry-picked data and faulty as­sump­tions and skewed in its con­clu­sions. The anal­y­sis “has fun­da­men­tal flaws and in­con­sis­ten­cies, is at odds with ba­sic eco­nomic the­ory and em­pir­i­cal stud­ies, (and) is mis­lead­ing,” re­searchers wrote.

The blunt as­sess­ment from a team of 11 ex­perts at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at Berke­ley, Mas­sachusetts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, Carnegie Mellon, Yale and other univer­si­ties casts more doubt on the un­der­pin­nings of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s plan to halt tough Obama-era rules re­quir­ing improvements in fuel econ­omy. It lends sup­port to Cal­i­for­nia and other states fight­ing to hold onto the miles-per-gal­lon tar­gets, the sin­gle big­gest fed­eral ac­tion to fight cli­mate change.

The En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency and the Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion launched the roll­back in Au­gust. While ac­knowl­edg­ing it would in­crease oil con­sump­tion, air pol­lu­tion and planet-warm­ing emis­sions, they ar­gued that tough fuel ef­fi­ciency stan­dards en­dan­ger drivers.

Strin­gent mpg tar­gets, they ar­gued, would make new cars too ex­pen­sive and force peo­ple to stay in older ve­hi­cles that lack the lat­est safety fea­tures.

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