Thumbs down: Bad logic, ban plan on auto emissions

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It wasn’t a surprise this week when the Trump administration moved to roll back federal gas mileage standards for cars, light trucks and SUVs. California already is in court trying to protect a decades-old provision of the Clean Air Act that allows the state to set its own emission standards. Sixteen other states have signed on to California’s lawsuit, and even some automakers are wary about reversing course. But the administration is plunging forward with its crusade against fuel-efficiency standards and, well, logic.

A draft of the administration’s proposal to relax the rules, obtained by the Associated Press, included two questionable contentions: first, people will drive less if they have to buy more fuel; and, second, people would buy more new vehicles if fuel-efficiency is reduced (which would make those less-expensive vehicles more expensive to operate). This smoggy logic wasn’t very convincing even before it ran into a wall of contradictory data. Since the mid-1970s, the number of motor-vehicle fatalities has declined, even as the number of vehicle miles driven has increased.

For the sake of future generations, and ourselves, we hope that the administration ends its ill-conceived war against fuel-efficiency standards.

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