Trump fuel economy rollback is based on misleading and shoddy calculations, study finds

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,” the researchers wrote.

The blunt assessment from a team of 11 experts at UC Berkeley, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Yale and other universities casts more doubt on the underpinnings of President 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.

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