Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Cass R. Sunstein

The High Cost of Rolling Back Fuel Standards

The Trump administration's rationale for reversing a carefully designed regulation needs to be technically sound, not ideologically driven.
Pay now, save more later.

Pay now, save more later.

Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A Republican president takes office, vowing to eliminate job-killing regulations issued by his Democratic predecessor. In his first weeks, the automobile industry publicly asks him to eliminate specific regulations that are, in its view, crushingly burdensome. He agrees.

Sound familiar? It should. But we’re speaking of 1981, not 2017, and of Ronald Reagan’s decision to repeal one of the central achievements of the Jimmy Carter administration: a rule designed to reduce highway deaths and injuries by requiring “passive restraints,” such as airbags, in motor vehicles.