By Coral Davenport
The Trump administration on Tuesday announced a new rule on automobile fuel efficiency, completing the president’s rollback of Obama-era standards and gutting the federal government’s most important climate change policy.
President Trump lauded the measure, which his administration called the single largest deregulatory initiative of his tenure. He said on Twitter that the move would save lives, lift the economy and help the auto industry.
Some of the data in the administration’s own analysis of the rule, however, does not support those claims.
For example, the analysis found that the new rule, when fully in place, could impose an overall cost on the economy of up to $22 billion. It found that, despite saving money on the initial sticker price of a less-fuel-efficient new car, individual motorists could end up spending about $500 more on gasoline over the life of the vehicle. And it concluded that the rule would lead to the loss of roughly 13,000 jobs in the auto industry in a single year, model year 2029.
Critics of the rule vowed to use the numbers in the administration’s analysis against it in a legal fight against the rule. Already, multiple states are preparing to file a joint lawsuit against the rollback in what is expected to ultimately become a landmark case before the Supreme Court.
Over all, outside experts said that Mr. Wheeler’s rosy numbers did not represent a full and accurate accounting of the costs of the rule.
“They are monkeying around with the numbers and the benefits, undermining a four-decade commitment to on-the-level cost-benefit analysis that has been in place since the Reagan administration,” said Michael Greenstone, an economist at the University of Chicago who served on Mr. Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers.